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imagePurpose: Controversy exists regarding complications associated with the use of acellular dermal matrix (ADM). This likely stems from the heterogeneous and unmatched patient characteristics in study groups. The purpose of this study was to analyze complications in a matched cohort to identify whether ADM use increased postoperative complications of the first-stage immediate expander-implant breast reconstructions.
Methods: A retrospective matched-cohort study was performed. We retrospectively reviewed prospectively collected data from patients who underwent immediate expander-implant breast reconstruction after mastectomy between February 2010 and January 2016. Independent variables included clinical characteristics, mastectomy weight, mastectomy type, expander size, initial inflation volume, number of days to drain removal, and adjuvant or neoadjuvant therapies. Different independent variables between the ADM and non-ADM groups were used for propensity score matching. After matching, a pairwise comparison of the 2 cohorts’ independent variables was carried out using the Wilcoxon signed rank test and McNemar test. Incidence of complications was evaluated for the 2 matched cohorts. To adjust for ablative and reconstructive surgeons, a multivariable generalized estimating equation analysis was performed.
Results: A total of 574 immediate expander-implant breast reconstructions in 533 patients were included in this study. We identified 398 reconstructions (199 for each group; ADM and non-ADM group) of matched cohorts using propensity score matching. Characteristics were similar between the 2 matched cohorts. In the matched analysis, there were no significant differences in the rate of skin flap complications (16.1% vs 16.1%, P > 0.999), seroma (4.0% vs 8.5%, P = 0.065), infection (3.0% vs 3.5%, P = 0.781), and overall complications (21.1% vs 26.1%, P = 0.251). Acellular dermal matrix was not associated with increased risk of complication when ablative and reconstructive surgeon factors were considered in a multivariable analysis (P = 0.511).
Conclusions: A matched cohort analysis demonstrated that ADM usage is not associated with an increased risk of complications, including skin flap complications, seroma, and infection. Our result suggests that ADM can be safely used in immediate expander-implant breast reconstruction when necessary.

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