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Women who undergo reconstructive breast implantation frequently develop short-term complications

the study. The most common complications were infection, blood clotting, seroma (collection of serum in the tissues) and skin perforation. Forty-nine percent of these complications occurred within three months and 67 percent within six months.

Additional surgery was required for 21 percent of the women, while 3 percent underwent additional nonsurgical treatment. Surgery was most often needed to correct asymmetry of the breasts, displacement of the implant or capsular contracture, when the capsule-like scar tissue that forms around the implant tightened and hardened. "Surgical or medical intervention is commonly required during the reconstructive course, but reconstruction failure (loss of implant) is rare," the authors report.

The researchers also examined data on the 302 women in the study who had reimplantations, usually to exchange or replace the existing implant. These women had similar rates of complications--36 percent of them developed at least one adverse event and 21 percent required additional surgery.

"When evaluating benefits and risks associated with breast reconstruction, the surgeon and patient should consider that the reconstructive process often requires additional surgical interventions to treat local complications or to achieve the desired cosmetic result," the authors conclude. "Detailed information on the likelihood of local complications associated with the given indication (cosmetic vs. reconstructive) should be an essential part of adequate informed consent for women seeking breast implantation."


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Contact: John Howser
615-322-4747
JAMA and Archives Journals
19-Dec-2005


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