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Reoperation cascade in postmastectomy breast reconstruction and its associated factors: results from a long‐term population‐based study


Background — Unplanned surgeries following postmastectomy breast reconstruction (PMBR) may be required to treat complications or to revise the reconstructed breast. The primary objective of this study was to examine factors that influenced unplanned reoperations after PMBR.

Methods — A retrospective cohort study using provincial databases in Ontario, Canada, was completed. Patients with breast cancer underwent mastectomy between April 2002 and March 2012 followed by immediate or delayed PMBR. Primary outcome was time from PMBR to unplanned reoperations measured in years. The Anderson‐Gill counting process model was used to estimate the risk of recurrent unplanned reoperations over time. Univariate and multivariate analyses were completed to examine the association between covariates.

Results — A total of 3066 women underwent PMBR and 51.7% had at least one unplanned reoperation. Unplanned breast reoperation was significantly associated with microsurgical tissue vs implant‐based reconstruction (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.27), radiation after PMBR (HR: 1.22), surgery at a nonteaching hospital (HR: 1.16), patient comorbidity score (HR: 1.02), and prior unplanned reoperations (HR: 1.25).

Conclusions — Our study provides important long‐term population‐level data regarding factors influencing unplanned reoperations after PMBR. Patients undergoing microsurgical PMBR or postmastectomy radiation had a higher rate of additional procedures. Every additional reoperation also increases the likelihood of unplanned reoperations resulting in a “reoperation cascade.”



Roberts A, Baxter NN, Sutradhar R, Lau C, Zhong T. J Surg Oncol. 2020; 122(7):1300-6. Epub 2020 Sep 15.

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