Is immediate breast reconstruction safe in women over 70? An analysis of the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) database

Fernando A. Angarita, Fahima Dossa, Jesse Zuckerman, David R. McCready, Tulin D. Cil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Purpose: The safety of immediate breast reconstruction (IBR) in older women is largely unknown. This study aimed to determine the 30-day postoperative complication rates following IBR (implant-based or autologous) in older women (≥ 70 years) with breast cancer and to compare them to younger women (18–69 years). Methods: The National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) database was used to identify women with in situ or invasive breast cancer who underwent IBR (2005–2016). Outcomes included 30-day postoperative morbidity and mortality, which were compared across age groups stratified by type of reconstruction. Results: Of 28,850 women who underwent implant-based and 9123 who underwent autologous reconstruction, older women comprised 6.5% and 5.7% of the sample, respectively. Compared to younger women, older women had more comorbidities, shorter operative times, and longer length of hospital stay. In the implant-based reconstruction group, the 30-day morbidity rate was significantly higher in older women (7.5% vs 5.3%, p < 0.0001) due to higher rates of infectious, pulmonary, and venous thromboembolic events. Wound morbidity and prosthesis failure occurred equally among age groups. In the autologous reconstruction group, there was no statistically significant difference in the 30-day morbidity rates (older 9.5% vs younger 11.6%, p = 0.15). Both wound morbidity and flap failure rates were similar between the two age groups. For both reconstruction techniques, mortality within 30 days of breast surgery was rare. Conclusion: Immediate breast reconstruction is safe in older women. These data support the notion that surgeons should discuss IBR as a safe and integral part of cancer treatment in well-selected older women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-224
Number of pages10
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 30 2019


  • Aged
  • Breast neoplasm
  • Breast reconstruction
  • Postoperative outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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