Prosthetic breast reconstruction: Indications and update

Tam T. Quinn, George S. Miller, Marie Rostek, Miguel S. Cabalag, Warren M. Rozen, David J. Hunter-Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Despite 82% of patients reporting psychosocial improvement following breast reconstruction, only 33% patients choose to undergo surgery. Implant reconstruction outnumbers autologous reconstruction in many centres. Methods: A systematic review of the literature was undertaken. Inclusion required: (I) Meta-analyses or review articles; (II) adult patients aged 18 years or over undergoing alloplastic breast reconstruction; (III) studies including outcome measures; (IV) case series with more than 10 patients; (V) English language; and (VI) publication after 1st January, 2000. Results: After full text review, analysis and data extraction was conducted for a total of 63 articles. Definitive reconstruction with an implant can be immediate or delayed. Older patients have similar or even lower complication rates to younger patients. Complications include capsular contracture, hematoma and infection. Obesity, smoking, large breasts, diabetes and higher grade tumors are associated with increased risk of wound problems and reconstructive failure. Silicone implant patients have higher capsular contracture rates but have higher physical and psychosocial function. There were no associations made between silicone implants and cancer or systemic disease. There were no differences in outcomes or complications between round and shaped implants. Textured implants have a lower risk of capsular contracture than smooth implants. Smooth implants are more likely to be displaced as well as having higher rates of infection. Immediate breast reconstruction (IBR) gives the best aesthetic outcome if radiotherapy is not required but has a higher rate of capsular contracture and implant failure. Delayed-immediate reconstruction patients can achieve similar aesthetic results to IBR whilst preserving the breast skin if radiotherapy is required. Delayed breast reconstruction (DBR) patients have fewer complications than IBR patients. Conclusions: Implant reconstruction is a safe and popular mode of post-mastectomy reconstruction. Evidence exists for the settings in which complications are more likely, and we can now more reliably predict outcomes of reconstruction on an individual basis and assess patient suitability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-186
Number of pages13
JournalGland Surgery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • Alloplastic
  • Breast cancer
  • Breast implant
  • Prosthesis
  • Reconstruction
  • Tissue expander

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