Evaluation of capsular contracture following immediate prepectoral versus subpectoral direct-to-implant breast reconstruction

Sci Rep. 2020 Jan 24;10(1):1137. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-58094-4.


Capsular contracture is a common adverse outcome following implant breast reconstruction, often associated with radiation treatment. The authors hypothesize that muscle fibrosis is the main contributor of breast reconstruction contracture after radiation. Retrospective chart review identified patients that underwent DTI reconstruction with pre-or post-operative breast irradiation. Signs of capsular contracture were assessed using clinic notes and independent graders reviewing two-dimensional images and anatomic landmarks. Capsular contracture rate was greater in the subpectoral vs. prepectoral group (n = 28, 51.8% vs. n = 12, 30.0%, p = 0.02). When compared to prepectoral DTI reconstruction in irradiated patients, subpectoral implant placement was nearly 4 times as likely to result in capsular contracture (p < 0.01). Rates of explantation, infection, tissue necrosis, and hematoma were comparable between groups. We also found that when subpectoral patients present with breast contracture, chemoparalysis of the muscle alone can resolve breast asymmetry, corroborating that muscle is a key contributor to breast contracture. As prepectoral breast reconstruction is gaining popularity, there have been questions regarding outcome following radiation treatment. This study suggest that prepectoral breast reconstruction is safe in an irradiated patient population, and in fact compares favorably with regard to breast contracture.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Implantation / adverse effects
  • Breast Implantation / methods*
  • Breast Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery
  • Device Removal
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mastectomy / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Organ Specificity
  • Pectoralis Muscles / pathology
  • Pectoralis Muscles / surgery
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Postoperative Complications / pathology
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Reoperation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Surgical Mesh