Background: Acellular dermal matrix for implant-based breast reconstruction appears to cause higher early complication rates, but long-term outcomes are perceived to be superior. This dichotomy is the subject of considerable debate. The authors hypothesized that patient characteristics and operative variables would have a greater impact on complications than the type of acellular dermal matrix used. Methods: A retrospective cohort study was performed of consecutive patients who underwent two-stage, implant-based breast reconstruction with human cadaveric or bovine acellular dermal matrix from 2006 to 2012 at a single institution. Patient characteristics and operative variables were analyzed using logistic regression analyses to identify risk factors for complications. Results: The authors included 564 reconstructions in the study. Radiation therapy and obesity increased the odds of all complications. Every 100-ml increase in preoperative breast volume increased the odds of any complication by 1 percent, the odds of infection by 27 percent, and the risk of explantation by 16 percent. The odds of seroma increased linearly with increasing surface area of acellular dermal matrix. Odds of infection were higher with an intraoperative expander fill volume greater than 50 percent of the total volume. Risk of explantation was twice as high when intraoperative expander fill volume was greater than 300 ml. Conclusions: Radiation therapy, obesity, larger breasts, higher intraoperative fill volumes, and larger acellular dermal matrices are all independent risk factors for early complications. Maximizing the initial mastectomy skin envelope fill must be balanced with the understanding that higher complication rates may result from a larger intraoperative breast mound.
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