Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 127, Issue 1, pp 15–22 | Cite as

Radiotherapy and breast reconstruction: a meta-analysis

  • M Barry
  • M. R. KellEmail author


The optimum sequencing of breast reconstruction (BR) in patients receiving postmastectomy radiation therapy (PMRT) is controversial. A comprehensive search of published studies that examined postoperative morbidity following immediate or delayed BR with combined radiotherapy was performed. Medical (MEDLINE & EMBASE) databases were searched and cross-referenced for appropriate studies where morbidity following BR was the primary outcome measured. A total of 1,105 patients were identified from 11 appropriately selected studies. Patients undergoing PMRT and BR are more likely to suffer morbidity compared with patients not receiving PMRT (OR = 4.2; 95% CI, 2.4–7.2 [no PMRT vs. PMRT]). Reconstruction technique was also examined with outcome when PMRT was delivered after BR, and this demonstrated that autologous reconstruction is associated with less morbidity in this setting (OR = 0.21; 95% CI, 0.1–0.4 [autologous vs. implant-based]). Delaying BR until after PMRT had no significant effect on outcome (OR = 0.87; 95% CI, 0.47–1.62 [delayed vs. immediate]). PMRT has a detrimental effect on BR outcome. These results suggest that where immediate reconstruction is undertaken with the necessity of PMRT, an autologous flap results in less morbidity when compared with implant-based reconstruction.


Post-mastectomy radiotherapy Immediate and delayed breast reconstruction Prosthetic breast reconstruction Autologous breast reconstruction Postoperative morbidity 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Breast SurgeryBreastCheck, Mater Misericordiae University HospitalDublinIreland

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