The impact of neoadjuvant chemotherapy on surgical outcomes following autologous and implant-based immediate breast reconstruction: A systematic review and meta-analysis

J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2023 Dec:87:17-23. doi: 10.1016/j.bjps.2023.09.048. Epub 2023 Sep 17.


Background: The impact of neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT) on the complication rate after implant-based and autologous breast reconstruction remains unclear. The aim of this study was to systematically review and perform a meta-analysis of previously published studies on immediate breast reconstruction (IBR) in breast cancer patients treated with NACT compared with controls.

Methods: PubMed and EMBASE were searched to identify studies assessing the impact of NACT on major and minor complications after IBR. The primary effect measures were relative risk (RR), 95% confidence interval (95% CI), and p-value.

Results: Eight studies comprising 51,731 patients were included in the meta-analysis. Of these, 5161 patients received NACT and 46,570 patients did not receive NACT. In regard to major complications, NACT did not statistically significant increase the rate of reconstructive failure (RR = 1.35, 95% CI = 0.96-1.91, p = 0.09), the rate of mastectomy skin-flap necrosis (RR = 1.39, 95% CI = 0.61-3.17, p = 0.44), or the rate of reoperation (RR = 1.09, 95% CI = 0.87-1.37, p = 0.45). Regarding minor complications, NACT did not significantly increase the rate of wound complications (RR = 1.05, 95% CI = 0.87-1.28, p = 0.62). In a subgroup analysis of implant-based breast reconstruction following NACT, single-stage direct-to-implant (DTI) had a significantly lower implant failure rate compared with two-staged tissue expander/implant (TE/I) (RR = 0.43, 95% CI = 0.26-0.71, p = 0.0011).

Conclusion: NACT did not increase the major or minor complication rate after IBR with either autologous tissue or implants. Thus, NACT and IBR should be considered safe procedures. The review of studies describing patients undergoing implant-based breast reconstruction following NACT could indicate that single-stage DTI was a safer procedure than two-staged TE/I. However, the association requires further evaluation.

Keywords: Autologous breast reconstruction; Breast cancer; Implant-based breast reconstruction; Mastectomy; Neoadjuvant chemotherapy.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Implants* / adverse effects
  • Breast Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Breast Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammaplasty* / adverse effects
  • Mammaplasty* / methods
  • Mastectomy / methods
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy / adverse effects
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy / methods
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome