Two-stage prosthetic breast reconstruction with initial insertion of a tissue expander followed by an implant after a period of inflation is a well-established breast reconstruction option. Most of the current literature concentrates on the immediate setting, and there are only a few reports into delayed cases, especially after postmastectomy radiotherapy (RT). We performed a retrospective review of our experience over a 12.5-year period.Methods:
Between June 1998 and December 2010, a total of 671 patients received prosthetic-only breast reconstruction. Of these, 170 (25.3%) underwent delayed 2-stage prosthetic breast reconstruction after mastectomy for cancer. Patients were divided into group A, no postmastectomy RT (n = 150), and group B, postmastectomy RT (n = 20). The primary factor examined was the failure of the reconstruction from loss of prosthesis with or without smoking. Other complications, as well as rates of revisional surgery were also recorded.Results:
Expander or implant loss occurred in 3 of 150 patients in group A (2.0%) and 3 of 20 patients in group B (15%; P = 0.02). For nonsmokers, implant loss was 1.6% and 5.6%, respectively (P = NS). Smoking was associated with 1 of the 3 losses in group A and 2 of the 3 in group B (smokers, n = 2; P < 0.01). There was no significant difference in other complications such as seromas or minor wound infections.Conclusions:
Delayed 2-stage prosthetic breast reconstruction has a low failure rate. It can also be successfully completed in selected patients after postmastectomy RT, but care must be taken with patients who smoke.