To investigate the outcomes of breast reconstruction with employing improved techniques throughout the tissue expander/implant two-stage breast reconstructed process, which involved the tissue expander placement, the saline filling intraoperatively and postoperatively, the implant selection, and the permanent implant replacement.
In this study, 68 patients who had been provided immediate or delayed tissue expander/implant two-stage breast reconstruction with autologous fat injection post-mastectomy in Peking University Third Hospital from April 2014 to September 2018 were involved, and the relevant information was analyzed retrospectively. The enhancements of the techniques, involving the incision selection, the expander placement, the principle of expansion, the management of capsule, the prosthesis selection, and the assisted reconstruction method were summarized, and the reconstruction outcomes were evaluated objectively through three-dimensional surface imaging.
Among the 68 patients in this study, immediate reconstruction was conducted in 25 patients and 43 patients underwent delayed reconstruction. The median time of tissue expansion was 7.0 (3.0, 20.0) months, and the average volume of expansion was (372.8±87.2) mL. The median size of breast implant was 215 (100, 395) mL. The median number of injections for fat grafting was 1 (1, 3), and the average volume of fat grafting was (119.3±34.1) mL. The median follow-up time was 7.0 (4.0, 24.0) months. During the process of breast reconstruction, the tissue expander leakage was observed in two patients, and one of them underwent expander replacement due to the secondary infection. In the immediate reconstruction cases, the volume symmetry of bilateral breasts after reconstruction got even better than that before mastectomy (t=4.465, P<0.01). And in the delayed reconstruction cases, the volume between bilateral breasts also achieved good symmetry after reconstruction (t=0.867, P>0.1).
Good results of tissue expander/implant two-stage breast reconstruction could be achieved through the techniques enhancement, which involved the preferred transverse incision, the downward placement of expander, the rapid expansion of chest soft tissue, the release of capsule tension, the application of sizer in prosthesis selection, and the assisted autologous fat grafting.