Tissue Expander For Hodgkin's Pts

ABSTRACT: Breast Reconstruction Using Tissue Expanders and Implants in Hodgkin's Patients with Prior Mantle Irradiation

Women treated for Hodgkin's disease with mantle irradiation have an increased risk for developing breast cancer.

Typically, breast malignancy in Hodgkin's patients presents bilaterally in a younger age group. Skin flap ischemia, poor skin expansion, implant extrusion, capsular contracture, and poor cosmesis are common sequelae of tissue expander/implant breast reconstruction after breast irradiation for failed breast conservation therapy.

This has led most surgeons to favor autologous tissue reconstruction in this setting. This study was performed to determine the efficacy of tissue expander/implant breast reconstruction in breast cancer patients who have been treated with prior mantle irradiation for Hodgkin's disease.

A retrospective analysis of all breast cancer patients with a history of Hodgkin's disease and mantle irradiation treated with mastectomy and tissue expander/implant reconstruction between 1992 and 1999 was performed. There were seven patients, with a mean age of 35 years (range, 28 to 42 years). The average interval between mantle irradiation and breast cancer diagnosis was 16 years (range, 12 to 23 years). All patients underwent two-stage reconstruction. Textured surface tissue expanders were placed in a complete submuscular position at the time of mastectomy.

Expansion was initiated 2 weeks after insertion and continued on a weekly basis until completion. Expanders were replaced with textured surface saline-filled implants as a second stage. Patients were evaluated for skin flap ischemia, infection, quality of skin expansion, implant extrusion, capsular contracture, rippling, symmetry, and final aesthetic outcome.

Breast cancer was bilateral in five patients and unilateral in two. Two patients did not undergo simultaneous bilateral breast reconstruction because of metachronous cancer development. One of the patients had an initial transverse rectus abdominis muscle flap breast reconstruction, followed by a tissue expander/implant reconstruction of the opposite breast. The average follow-up was 3 years.

Complications were limited to one case of cellulitis after implant placement that resolved with intravenous antibiotics. There were no cases of skin flap ischemia, poor skin expansion, or implant extrusion. Overall patient satisfaction was high and revisions were not requested or required.

Symmetry was best achieved with bilateral implants. This study demonstrates the efficacy of tissue expander/implant breast reconstruction in patients treated with prior mantle irradiation.

In this series, tissue expansion was reliable with low morbidity. Second-stage placement of permanent implants yielded good aesthetic results without significant capsular contracture.

Mantle irradiation did not appear to compromise the prosthetic breast reconstruction.

Tissue expander/implant breast reconstruction should remain a viable option in this category of irradiated patients.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 1/02

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