Wound complications from surgery in pregnancy-associated breast cancer (PABC)

Breast Dis. 2010;31(1):1-5. doi: 10.3233/BD-2009-0289.


Background: there are concerns that physiologic changes of the peripartum breast may result in complications in breast conservation therapy. We present the complications of breast conservation surgeries and mastectomies performed for pregnancy-associated breast cancer (PABC).

Materials and methods: from April 1989 through April 2008, sixty-seven breast cancer patients underwent surgical management for PABC, defined as surgery during pregnancy or within one year postpartum. Records of women who had surgery were examined for post-operative wound complications of milk fistula, cellulitis, abscess, or hematoma.

Results: Forty-seven patients underwent mastectomy. Twenty were treated with conservative breast surgery. There were six complications, all treated in the outpatient setting. There were no documented milk fistulae.

Conclusions: in our series, we had few postoperative complications and no milk fistulae for those patients undergoing surgery for PABC. When compared to those who had mastectomy for PABC, women who underwent breast conserving therapy did not appear to have increased frequency of surgical complications.

MeSH terms

  • Abscess / etiology
  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Axilla
  • Breast Diseases / etiology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Cellulitis / etiology
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Cyclophosphamide / administration & dosage
  • Doxorubicin / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Fluorouracil / administration & dosage
  • Hematoma / etiology
  • Humans
  • Mastectomy, Modified Radical / adverse effects*
  • Mastectomy, Segmental / adverse effects*
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Neoplastic / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications, Neoplastic / pathology
  • Pregnancy Complications, Neoplastic / surgery*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult


  • Doxorubicin
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Fluorouracil