Characterizing the Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Plastic Surgery Literature
Breast reconstruction during the COVID-19 pandemic: Single institution experience from the pandemic's epicenter in the United States
INTRODUCTION/BACKGROUND:The coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic dramatically changed the delivery of breast cancer care. The objective of this study was to quantify the effect of the pandemic on breast cancer screening, treatment, and reconstruction at a single institution in New York City. METHODS:A retrospective chart review was conducted to determine the number of mammograms, lumpectomies, mastectomies, and breast reconstruction operations performed between January 1, 2019 and June 30, 2021. Outcomes analyzed included changes in mammography, oncologic surgery, and breast reconstruction surgery volume before, during and after the start of the pandemic. RESULTS:Mammography volume declined by 11% in March-May of 2020. Oncologic breast surgeries and reconstructive surgeries similarly declined by 6.8% and 11%, respectively, in 2020 compared with 2019, reaching their lowest levels in April 2020. The volume of all procedures increased during the summer of 2020. Mammography volumes in June and July 2020 were found to be at pre-COVID levels, and in October-December 2020 were 15% higher than in 2019. Oncologic breast surgeries saw a similar rebound in May 2020, with 24.6% more cases performed compared with May 2019. Breast reconstruction volumes increased, though changes in the types of reconstruction were noted. Oncoplastic closures were more common during the pandemic, while two-stage implant reconstruction and immediate autologous reconstruction decreased by 27% and 43%, respectively. All procedures are on track to increase in volume in 2021 compared to that in 2020. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:The COVID-19 pandemic reduced the volume of breast cancer surveillance, surgical treatment, and reconstruction procedures. While it is reassuring that volumes have rebounded in 2021, efforts must be made to emphasize screening and treatment procedures in the face of subsequent surges, such as that recently attributable to the Delta and Omicron variants.
Comparing Incision Choices in Immediate Microvascular Breast Reconstruction after Nipple-Sparing Mastectomy: Unique Considerations to Optimize Outcomes
BACKGROUND:Incision planning is a critical factor in nipple-sparing mastectomy outcomes. Evidence on optimal incision patterns in patients undergoing nipple-sparing mastectomy and immediate microvascular breast reconstruction is lacking in the literature. METHODS:A single-institution retrospective review was performed of consecutive patients undergoing nipple-sparing mastectomy and immediate microvascular autologous reconstruction from 2007 to 2019. Outcomes-including major mastectomy flap necrosis, full nipple-areola complex necrosis, and any major ischemic complication of the skin envelope-were compared among incision types. Multivariable logistic regression identified factors associated with major ischemic complication. RESULTS:Two hundred seventy-nine reconstructions (163 patients) were identified, primarily using internal mammary recipient vessels (98.9 percent). Vertical incisions were used in 139 cases; inframammary, in 53; lateral radial, in 51; and inverted-T, in 35. Thirty-two cases (11.5 percent) had major mastectomy flap necrosis, 11 (3.9 percent) had full nipple-areola complex necrosis, and 38 (13.6 percent) had any major ischemic complication. Inframammary incisions had higher rates of major ischemic complication (25 percent) than vertical (5.8 percent; p < 0.001) and lateral radial (7.8 percent; p = 0.032) incisions. Inverted-T incisions also had higher rates of major ischemic complication (36.1 percent) than both vertical (p < 0.001) and lateral radial (p = 0.002) incisions. Inframammary incisions (OR, 4.382; p = 0.002), inverted-T incisions (OR, 3.952; p = 0.011), and mastectomy weight (OR, 1.003; p < 0.001) were independently associated with an increased risk of major ischemic complication. Inframammary incisions with major ischemic complication demonstrated significantly higher body mass index, mastectomy weight, and flap weight compared to those without. CONCLUSIONS:Inframammary and inverted-T incisions are associated with a higher risk of major ischemic skin envelope complications after nipple-sparing mastectomy and immediate microvascular breast reconstruction. Radial incisions can be considered to optimize recipient vessel exposure without compromising perfusion. CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE/METHODS:Therapeutic, III.
A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Microvascular Stacked and Conjoined-Flap Breast Reconstruction
BACKGROUND:â€ƒStacked and conjoined (SC) flaps are a useful means of increasing flap volume in autologous breast reconstruction. The majority of studies, however, have been limited to smaller, single-center series. METHODS:â€ƒA systematic literature review was performed to identify outcomes-based studies on microvascular SC-flap breast reconstruction. Pooled rates of flap and operative characteristics were analyzed. Meta-analytic effect size estimates were calculated for reconstructive complication rates and outcomes of studies comparing SC flaps to non-SC flaps. Meta-regression analysis identified risk factors for flap complications. RESULTS:â€‰=â€‰0.00%), though rates of any flap and donor-site complication were similar. Age, body mass index, flap weight, and flap donor site and recipient vessels were not associated with increased risk of any flap complication. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:â€ƒA global appraisal of the current evidence demonstrated the safety of SC-flap breast reconstruction with low complication rates, regardless of donor site, and lower rates of fat necrosis compared with non-SC flaps.
Breast Reconstruction during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Systematic Review
Introduction/UNASSIGNED:The COVID-19 pandemic posed unique challenges for breast reconstruction. Many professional organizations initially placed restrictions on breast reconstruction, leading surgeons to conceive innovative protocols for offering breast reconstruction. This study reviewed the current evidence on breast reconstruction during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide guidance for surgeons facing future crises. Methods/UNASSIGNED:The MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews were searched for studies (1) describing implant and autologous breast reconstruction following mastectomy and (2) occurring during or pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic. Results/UNASSIGNED:Of the 1347 studies identified, 26 were included. Studies discussed type of reconstruction (18, 69%), complications (11, 42%), timing of reconstruction (10, 38%), protocols (10, 38%), COVID-19 screening (7, 27%), and length of hospital stay (7, 27%). The type of reconstruction varied depending on the stage of the pandemic: early on, autologous breast reconstruction was halted to preserve resources, but was later resumed. Within implant-based reconstruction, direct-to-implant was favored over serial tissue expansion. Several protocols were developed, with many emphasizing multidisciplinary collaborations for patient selection, use of specialized measures to reduce risk of COVID-19 transmission, and optimization of same-day discharge. Complication rates following breast reconstruction were similar to pre-pandemic rates. Conclusions/UNASSIGNED:The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the landscape of breast reconstruction by raising important questions about delivery of care, cost, and resource utilization. The findings of this review may inform surgeons as they plan for similar future crises or strive for improved patient care and efficacy even during nonpandemic times.
Do We Need Support in Prepectoral Breast Reconstruction? Comparing Outcomes with and without ADM
Background/UNASSIGNED:The majority of two-stage prepectoral breast reconstruction has been described utilizing acellular dermal matrix (ADM). Although reports of prepectoral breast reconstruction without ADM exist, there is a paucity of comparative studies. Methods/UNASSIGNED:A single-institution retrospective review was performed of consecutive patients undergoing immediate prepectoral two-stage breast reconstruction with tissue expanders from 2017 to 2019. Short-term reconstructive and aesthetic complications were compared between cases that utilized ADM for support and those that did not. Results/UNASSIGNED:0.362). Conclusions/UNASSIGNED:Immediate two-stage prepectoral breast reconstruction with tissue expanders has comparable rates of short-term complications with or without ADM support. Safety of prepectoral expander placement without ADM may warrant more selective ADM use in these cases.
Deconstructing the Reconstruction: Evaluation of Process and Efficiency in Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator Flaps
Comparing outcomes between stacked/conjoined and non-stacked/conjoined abdominal microvascular unilateral breast reconstruction
BACKGROUND:Stacked and conjoined free flaps are increasingly utilized in autologous breast reconstruction to augment tissue transfer volume. However, there is a paucity of comparative data on abdominally-based stacked/conjoined versus non-stacked/conjoined flaps. The purpose of this study was to compare ability to match native breast size, complications, recovery, and symmetrizing procedures between these two cohorts in unilateral breast reconstruction. METHODS:A retrospective review of all stacked (two separate hemiabdominal)/conjoined (bipedicled full abdominal) flaps and non-stacked/conjoined (unipedicled hemiabdominal) flaps in unilateral abdominally-based autologous breast reconstructions was performed from 2011 to 2018. Variables including demographics, operative characteristics, complications, and revisions were compared in 36 stacked/conjoined patients versus 146 non-stacked/conjoined patients. RESULTS:The stacked/conjoined cohort had more DIEP flaps (91.7 vs. 65.1%) and the non-stacked/conjoined group more MS-TRAMs (34.2 vs. 6.9%, p = .000). Additionally, non-stacked/conjoined flaps had greater utilization of combined medial and lateral row perforators (p = .000). Mean flap weight was significantly higher than mastectomy weight in stacked/conjoined flaps (+110.7 g) when compared to non-stacked/conjoined flaps (-40.2) (p = .023). Average follow-up was 54.7â€‰Â±â€‰27.5 and 54.6â€‰Â±â€‰29.3 months, respectively. Stacked/conjoined flaps had lower fat necrosis rates (8.3 vs. 25.4%, p = .039) and had a decreased risk of fat necrosis on multivariable regression analysis (OR 0.278, p = 0.045). There were otherwise no differences in flap, breast, or donor-site complications. Stacked/conjoined flaps also had a lower rate of contralateral breast reduction (p = .041). CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:Stacked/conjoined flaps were associated with a lower risk of fat necrosis compared with non-stacked/conjoined flaps and had a lower rate of contralateral symmetrizing reductions in patients undergoing unilateral abdominally-based breast reconstruction.
Optimizing the Mastectomy Flap to Improve Aesthetic Outcomes
The aesthetics of breast reconstruction inherently rely on both the ablative and reconstructive procedures. Mastectomy flap quality remains one of the most critical factors in determining the success of a reconstruction and its aesthetic outcome. Maintaining the segmental perfusion to the nipple and skin envelope during mastectomy requires preserving the subcutaneous tissue superficial to the breast capsule. Because this layer of tissue varies in thickness among different patients and within each breast, anatomic dissection along the appropriate planes is required rather than a "one-size-fits-all" mentality. A team-based approach between the breast surgeon and plastic surgeon will optimize both the ablative and reconstructive procedures while engaging in a process of shared decision-making with the patient. Preoperative clinical analysis and utilization of imaging to assess individual breast anatomy will help guide mastectomies as well as decisions on reconstructive modalities. Critical assessment of mastectomy flaps is paramount and requires flexibility to adapt reconstructive paradigms intraoperatively to minimize the risk of complications and provide the best aesthetic result.
Optimizing Aesthetic Outcomes in Breast Reconstruction After Nipple-Sparing Mastectomy
Nipple-sparing mastectomy (NSM) has been associated with improved quality of life and patient satisfaction with similar oncologic outcomes compared with traditional mastectomy techniques. By conserving the nipple-areola complex and the majority of the breast skin envelope, NSM allows for improved aesthetic outcomes after breast reconstruction. However, the technique is also associated with a steep learning curve that must be considered to achieve optimal outcomes. It is important that the plastic surgeon functions in concert with the extirpative breast surgeon to optimize outcomes because the reconstruction is ultimately dependent on the quality of the overlying mastectomy flaps. Various other factors influence the complex interplay between aesthetic and reconstructive outcomes in NSM, including preoperative evaluation, specific implant- and autologous-based considerations, as well as techniques to optimize and correct nipple-areola complex position. Management strategies for complications necessary to salvage a successful reconstruction are also reviewed. Lastly, techniques to expand indications for NSM and maximize nipple viability as well as preshape the breast are discussed. Through thoughtful preoperative planning and intraoperative technique, ideal aesthetic results in NSM may be achieved.