Patient Safety Initiatives in Cosmetic Breast Surgery: A Systematic Review

J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2022 Nov;75(11):4180-4190. doi: 10.1016/j.bjps.2022.06.099. Epub 2022 Jun 28.


Background: Improved patient safety (PS) in cosmetic breast surgery relies upon high-quality evidence. The objective of this study was to systematically review the existing evidence for PS and quality improvement (QI) in cosmetic breast surgery.

Methods: A systematic review of published plastic surgery literature from 1965 to 2021 was undertaken through a computerized search following PRISMA guidelines. Publication descriptors, methodological details, and overall results were extracted. Articles were assessed for methodological quality using either the MINORS, Cochrane ROB2, or AMSTAR 2 instrument depending on the type of study.

Results: Sixty studies were included. Most studies were retrospective, and 43.3 percent were from the 3rd level of evidence. Overall, the scientific quality was moderate, with randomized controlled trials and non-comparative non-randomized studies generally being rated of higher quality. Studies investigating approaches to antisepsis (38.3 percent) in cosmetic breast surgery indicated conflicting opinions on prophylactic antibiotics. Studies focusing on risk factor assessment tools (8.3 percent) held possible utility in identifying high-risk patients for cosmetic surgery. Studies assessing anesthesia in cosmetic breast surgery (5 percent) demonstrated a significant benefit to tumescent local anesthesia. Drains for decreasing hematoma and seroma (8.3 percent) largely showed no benefit.

Conclusions: Overall, PS and QI studies were of moderate quality and investigated numerous interventions. Our review identified a need for additional studies to decrease infection and other breast implant morbidities, specifically breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma and capsular contracture.

Keywords: Anaplastic large cell lymphoma; Antisepsis; Breast implants; Cosmetic breast surgery; Infection; Patient safety; Quality improvement; Seroma.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Implants* / adverse effects
  • Breast Neoplasms* / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Patient Safety
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surgery, Plastic*