Single-Unit technique for the use of acellular dermal matrix in immediate expander-based breast reconstruction

J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2020 Nov 2;S1748-6815(20)30545-3. doi: 10.1016/j.bjps.2020.10.048. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Background: The use of acellular dermal matrices (ADMs) in immediate two-stage prosthetic breast reconstruction following mastectomy is now a common practice. The procedure confers several compelling benefits, including coverage of the inferior pole, enhanced definition of the inframammary fold, and reduction of capsular contracture. However, operative techniques used to create the ADM inferolateral sling can be unwieldy in practice, typically involving the placement of the ADM followed by positioning and anchoring of the prosthetic expander. At best, this may be a relatively minor nuisance, but may potentially influence outcomes, including discrepancies in symmetry.

Methods: We present a novel modification that aims to streamline this procedure. Perforations are made through the allograft, through which the tissue expander tabs are brought through and sutured together ex vivo to allow the ADM and expander to be placed into the inframammary fold position as a single unit. A retrospective chart review was then performed of patients who underwent breast reconstruction utilizing this technique between July 2015 and December 2018. Outcomes including postsurgical complications such as infection, malposition, and reoperation were analyzed.

Results: Sixty-two patients met the inclusion criteria, corresponding to 108 breasts. The average follow-up was 18 months. The overall complication rate was 29.6% of breasts. The most commonly observed complications were mastectomy skin necrosis (9.3%) and major infection (8.3%). There was a 7.4% rate of malposition.

Conclusions: This simple but effective modification in ADM technique is associated with a comparable complication rate and allows for greater ease and consistency in tissue expander placement.

Keywords: Acellular dermal matrix; Immediate breast reconstruction; Tissue expander; Two-stage breast reconstruction.