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Direct-to-Implant Subcutaneous Breast Reconstruction: A Systematic Review of Complications and Patient’s Quality of Life

Aesthetic Plast Surg. 2022 Sep 12. doi: 10.1007/s00266-022-03068-2. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: The use of direct-to-implant subcutaneous breast reconstruction has increased over the last years. The goal of this systematic review is to deliver an updated review of the safety of this technique and its impact on quality of life. We also compare subcutaneous vs submuscular complications, through meta-analysis.

METHODS: Literature review through PubMed and Cochrane Library databases were performed by PRISMA criteria. Thirty-nine studies met inclusion criteria for subcutaneous review and 15 studies met inclusion criteria for meta-analysis. All included studies were evaluated for complications and answers to the BREAST-Q. Data were analysed using Microsoft Excel, IBM SPSS, and Cochrane RevMan.

RESULTS: In 2863 patients and 3988 breasts that undergone direct to implant subcutaneous breast reconstruction, 8,21% had rippling, 5,64% seroma, 1,74% hematoma, 3,40% infection, 3,01% wound dehiscence, 3,93% skin necrosis, 3,34% nipple-areolar-complex (NAC) necrosis, 3,07% capsular contracture, 0,00% animation deformity, and 3,83% an implant removal. Meta-analysis showed a statistically significant decrease in the odds ratio of animation deformity, a but statistically significant higher odds ratio of rippling. Subcutaneous and submuscular reconstructions had similar BREAST-Q scores.

CONCLUSIONS: Direct-to-implant subcutaneous breast reconstruction does not harm the patient’s quality of life, comparatively with submuscular, saving the pectoral muscle from dissection and preventing animation deformity, but increasing the risk of rippling.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE III: This journal requires that authors assign a level of evidence to each article. For a full description of these Evidence-Based Medicine ratings, please refer to the Table of Contents or the online Instructions to Authors .

PMID:36097081 | DOI:10.1007/s00266-022-03068-2

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