Complications in Postmastectomy Breast Reconstruction

Edwin G. Wilkins*, Jennifer B. Hamill, Hyungjin M. Kim, John Y. Kim, Richard J. Greco, Ji Qi, Andrea L. Pusic

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

175 Scopus citations


Objective: In postmastectomy reconstruction, procedure choice is heavily influenced by the relative risks of the various options. This study sought to evaluate complications in a large, multicenter patient population. Summary of Background Data: Previous studies have reported widely varying complication rates, but have been limited by their single center designs and inadequate controlling for confounders in their analyses. Methods: Eleven sites enrolled women undergoing first time, immediate, or delayed reconstruction following mastectomy for cancer treatment or prophylaxis. Procedures included expander/implant, latissimus dorsi (LD), pedicle transverse rectus abdominis musculocutaneous (PTRAM), free TRAM (FTRAM), and deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) techniques. Data were gathered pre- A nd postoperatively from medical records. Separate logistic regressions were conducted for all complications and major complications (those requiring rehospitalization and/or reoperation) within 1 year. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated for procedure type, controlling for site, demographic, and clinical variables. Results: Complication rates for 2234 patients were analyzed. Compared with expander/implant reconstructions, LD (OR) 1.95, P = 0.026), PTRAM (OR 1.89, P = 0.025), FTRAM (OR 1.94, P = 0.011), and DIEP (OR 2.22, P < 0.001) procedures were associated with higher risks of complications. Significantly higher risks were also associated with older age, higher body mass index (BMI), immediate reconstruction, bilateral procedures, and radiation. For major complications, regression showed significantly greater risks for PTRAM (OR 1.86, P = 0.044) and DIEP (OR 1.75, P = 0.004), than expander/implant reconstructions. Failure rates were relatively low, ranging from 0% for PTRAM to 5.9% for expander/implant reconstructions. Conclusion: In this multicenter analysis, procedure choice and other patient variables were significant predictors of 1-year complications in breast reconstruction. These findings should be considered in counseling patients on reconstructive options.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)164-170
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Breast reconstruction
  • complications
  • multicenter
  • outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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