Direct-to-Implant versus Two-Stage Tissue Expander/Implant Reconstruction: 2-Year Risks and Patient-Reported Outcomes from a Prospective, Multicenter Study

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Abstract

Background:

Direct-to-implant breast reconstruction offers time-saving advantages over two-stage techniques. However, use of direct-to-implant reconstruction remains limited, in part, because of concerns over complication rates.1,2 The authors’ aim was to compare 2-year complications and patient-reported outcomes for direct-to-implant versus tissue expander/implant reconstruction.

Methods:

Patients undergoing immediate direct-to-implant or tissue expander/implant reconstruction were enrolled in the Mastectomy Reconstruction Outcomes Consortium, an 11-center prospective cohort study. Complications and patient-reported outcomes (using the BREAST-Q questionnaire) were evaluated. Outcomes were compared using mixed-effects regression models, adjusting for demographic and clinical characteristics.

Results:

Of 1427 patients, 99 underwent direct-to-implant reconstruction and 1328 underwent tissue expander/implant reconstruction. Two years after reconstruction and controlling for covariates, direct-to-implant and tissue expander/implant reconstruction patients did not show statistically significant differences in any complications, including infection. Multivariable analyses found no significant differences between the two groups in patient-reported outcomes, with the exception of sexual well-being, where direct-to-implant patients fared better than the tissue expander/implant cohort (p = 0.047).

Conclusions:

This prospective, multi-institutional study showed no statistically significant differences between direct-to-implant and tissue expander/implant reconstruction, in either complication rates or most patient-reported outcomes at 2 years postoperatively. Direct-to-implant reconstruction appears to be a viable alternative to expander/implant reconstruction. This analysis provides new evidence on which to base reconstructive decisions.

CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

Therapeutic, II.

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