Complications and Patient-Reported Outcomes after Abdominally Based Breast Reconstruction: Results of the Mastectomy Reconstruction Outcomes Consortium Study

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Abstract

Background:

Abdominal flap reconstruction is the most popular form of autologous breast reconstruction. The current study compared complications and patient-reported outcomes after pedicled transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous (TRAM), free TRAM, deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP), and superficial inferior epigastric artery (SIEA) flaps.

Methods:

Patients undergoing abdominally based breast reconstruction at 11 centers were prospectively evaluated for abdominal donor-site and breast complications. Patient-reported outcomes were measured by the BREAST-Q and Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System surveys. Mixed-effects regression models were used to assess the effects of procedure type on outcomes.

Results:

Seven hundred twenty patients had 1-year follow-up and 587 had 2-year follow-up. Two years after reconstruction, SIEA compared with DIEP flaps were associated with a higher rate of donor-site complications (OR, 2.7; p = 0.001); however, SIEA flaps were associated with higher BREAST-Q abdominal physical well-being scores compared with DIEP flaps at 1 year (mean difference, 4.72, on a scale from 0 to 100; p = 0.053). This difference was not significant at 2 years. Abdominal physical well-being scores at 2 years postoperatively were lower in the pedicled TRAM flap group by 7.2 points (p = 0.006) compared with DIEP flaps and by 7.8 points (p = 0.03) compared with SIEA flaps, and in the free TRAM flap group, scores were lower by 4.9 points (p = 0.04) compared with DIEP flaps. Bilateral reconstruction had significantly lower abdominal physical well-being scores compared with unilateral reconstruction.

Conclusions:

Although all abdominally based flaps are viable breast reconstruction options, DIEP and SIEA flaps are associated with higher abdominal physical well-being than pedicled and free TRAM flaps. Although SIEA flaps offer the advantage of not violating the fascia, higher rates of donor-site complications may diminish patient satisfaction.

CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

Therapeutic, II.

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