A meta-analysis of implant-based breast reconstruction and timing of adjuvant radiation therapy

Joseph A. Ricci, Sherise Epstein, Adeyiza O. Momoh, Samuel J. Lin, Dhruv Singhal, Bernard T. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Scopus citations


Background Implant-based breast reconstruction is the most common type of reconstruction after postmastectomy radiation therapy (PMRT). The impact of the timing of PMRT to a tissue expander or permanent implant is not well understood. The purpose of this systematic review was to evaluate outcomes in implant-based reconstruction and the timing of PMRT. Methods A review of the English literature in the PubMed/MEDLINE database (2000-2016) was performed to identify all articles on implant-based breast reconstruction and PMRT. Cases from each study were grouped by PMRT to a tissue expander or PMRT to a permanent implant. Outcomes of interest included reconstructive failure and capsular contracture as overall rates and associations were pooled. Effect sizes (z values), risk ratios (RRs), and heterogeneity scores (I2) were calculated on meta-analysis. Results There were 20 studies meeting inclusion criteria with 2348 patients identified. Pooled analysis revealed an overall rate of reconstructive failure of 17.6% and Baker grade III/IV capsular contracture of 37.5%. PMRT applied to tissue expanders resulted in higher rates of reconstructive failure compared with PMRT applied to permanent silicone implants (20% versus 13.4%, RR = 2.33, P = 0.0083, 95% confidence interval 1.24-4.35), but lower rates of capsular contracture (24.5% versus 49.4%, RR = 0.53, P = 0.083, 95% confidence interval 0.26-1.09). Conclusions Regardless of timing, PMRT applied to implant-based breast reconstruction was associated with high risk of reconstructive failure and capsular contracture. Surgeons should consider alternative strategies, such as autologous tissue reconstructions, in patients requiring PMRT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-116
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast implant
  • Breast reconstruction
  • Capsular contracture
  • Radiation therapy
  • Reconstructive failure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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