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Immediate single-stage direct-to-implant breast reconstruction requires caution owing to the possibility of skin necrosis and implant failure. Nevertheless, this method has been performed widely for breast reconstruction. This study aimed to analyze the safety of single-stage implant reconstruction by comparing it with 2-stage reconstruction (TSR).
Immediate single-stage reconstructions (SSRs) and TSRs with a tissue expander, performed from January 2011 to December 2016, were retrospectively reviewed. Acellular dermal matrix was used in both groups to maintain similar pocket conditions. Risk factors were not considered in patient selection.
We enrolled 290 patients including 8 who received bilateral breast reconstruction. A total of 298 breasts were operated, including 233 SSR cases (78%) and 65 TSR cases (22%). The surgical success (ie, the implant was maintained without explantation) rate was higher in SSR (97%) than in TSR (90.2%) (P = 0.03). Two-stage reconstruction had a significantly higher rate of hematoma (12.3% vs 3.4%, P = 0.005), seroma (41.5% vs 20.6%, P = 0.001), and implant failure (9.8% vs 3.0%, P = 0.03). However, the rate of skin necrosis was lower in TSR (7.7% vs 10.3%) with a trend toward significance (P = 0.053). The implant salvage rate was higher in SSR (61.1%) than in TSR (12.5%) even after revision operation (P = 0.013).
Single-stage reconstruction yielded a lower complication rate than TSR. Moreover, the high salvage rate of SSR causes less concern about implant failure despite the possibility of revision operation. Therefore, SSR may be considered a frontline method for breast reconstruction without any patient selection interference.

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