Introduction: Impaired vascular perfusion in tissue expander (TE) breast reconstruction leads to mastectomy skin necrosis. We investigated factors and costs associated with skin necrosis in postmastectomy breast reconstruction. Methods: Retrospective review of 169 women with immediate TE placement following mastectomy between May 1, 2009 and May 31, 2013 was performed. Patient demographics, comorbidities, intraoperative, and postoperative outcomes were collected. Logistic regression analysis on individual variables was performed to determine the effects of tissue expander fill volume and mastectomy specimen weight on skin necrosis. Billing data was obtained to determine the financial burden associated with necrosis. Results: This study included 253 breast reconstructions with immediate TE placement from 169 women. Skin necrosis occurred in 20 flaps for 15 patients (8.9%). Patients with hypertension had 8 times higher odds of skin necrosis [odd ratio (OR), 8.10, P < 0.001]. Patients with TE intraoperative fill volumes >300 cm3 had 10 times higher odds of skin necrosis (OR, 10.66, P =0.010). Volumes >400 cm3 had 15 times higher odds of skin necrosis (OR, 15.56, P = 0.002). Mastectomy specimen weight was correlated with skin necrosis. Specimens >500 g had 10 times higher odds of necrosis and specimens >1000 g had 18 times higher odds of necrosis (OR, 10.03 and OR, 18.43; P =0.003 and P <0.001, respectively). Mastectomy skin necrosis was associated with a 50% increased inpatient charge. Conclusion: Mastectomy flap necrosis is associated with HTN, larger TE volumes and mastectomy specimen weights, resulting in increased inpatient charges. Conservative TE volumes should be considered for patients with hypertension and larger mastectomy specimens.
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