Background: Traditional 2-stage breast reconstruction involves placement of a textured-surface tissue expander (TTE). Recent studies have demonstrated textured surface devices have higher propensity for bacterial contamination and bio-film formation. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of smooth surface tissue expanders (STE) in immediate breast reconstruction. Methods: The authors retrospectively reviewed consecutive women who underwent STE breast reconstruction from 2016 to 2017 at 3 institutions. Indications and outcomes were evaluated. Results: A total 112 patients underwent STE reconstruction (75 subpectoral, 37 prepectoral placement), receiving 173 devices and monitored for a mean follow-up of 14.1 months. Demographics of patients included average age of 53 years and average BMI of 27.2 kg/m2, and 18.6% received postmastectomy radiation therapy. Overall complication rates were 15.6% and included mastectomy skin flap necrosis (10.4%), seroma (5.2%), expander malposition (2.9%), and infection requiring intravenous antibiotic therapy (3.5%). Six (3.5%) unplanned reoperations with explantation were reported for 3 infections and 3 patients requesting change of plan with no reconstruction. Conclusions: STEs represent a safe and efficacious alternative to TTE breast reconstruction with at least equitable outcomes. Technique modification including tab fixation, strict pocket control, postoperative bra support, and suture choice may contribute to observed favorable outcomes and are reviewed. Early results for infection control and explantation rate are encouraging and warrant comparative evaluation for potential superiority over TTEs in a prospective randomized trial.
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