Nipple reconstruction after implant-based breast reconstruction: A "matched-pair" outcome analysis focusing on the effects of radiotherapy

Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Stanford University Medical Center, USA. Electronic address: .
Journal of Plastic Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery (Impact Factor: 1.42). 05/2013; 66(9). DOI: 10.1016/j.bjps.2013.04.052
Source: PubMed


The major focus of research when addressing nipple reconstruction has been on developing new techniques to provide for long-lasting nipple projection. Rarely, has the outcome of nipple reconstruction as it relates to postoperative morbidity, particularly after implant-based breast reconstruction, been analyzed.

A "matched-pair" study was designed to specifically answer the question whether a history of radiotherapy predisposes to a higher complication rate after nipple reconstruction in patients after implant-based breast reconstruction. Only patients with a history of unilateral radiotherapy who underwent bilateral mastectomy and implant-based breast reconstruction followed by bilateral nipple reconstruction were included in the study.

A total of 17 patients (i.e. 34 nipple reconstructions) were identified who met inclusion criteria. The mean age of the study population was 43.5 years (range, 23-69). Complications were seen after a total of 8 nipple reconstructions (23.5 percent). Of these, 7 complications were seen on the irradiated side (41.2 percent) (p = 0.03).

While nipple reconstruction is a safe procedure after implant-based breast reconstruction in patients without a history of radiotherapy the presence of an irradiated field converts it to a procedure with a significant increase in postoperative complication rate.

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