Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 164, Issue 3, pp 641–647 | Cite as

Radiation and depression associated with complications of tissue expander reconstruction

  • Paul J. Chuba
  • William A. Stefani
  • Carrie Dul
  • Susan Szpunar
  • Jeffrey Falk
  • Rachael Wagner
  • Elango Edhayan
  • Anna Rabbani
  • Cynthia H. Browne
  • Amr Aref
Clinical trial



Rates of implant failure, wound healing delay, and infection are higher in patients having radiation therapy (RT) after tissue expander (TE) and permanent implant reconstruction. We investigated pretreatment risk factors for TE implant complications.

Patients and methods

127 breast cancer patients had TE reconstruction and radiation. For 85 cases of bilateral TE reconstruction, the non-irradiated breast provided an internal control. Comparison of differences in means for continuous variables used analysis of variance, then multiple pairwise comparisons with Bonferroni correction of p value.


Mean age was 53 ± 10.1 years with 14.6% African-American. Twelve (9.4%) were BRCA positive (9 BRCA1, 4 BRCA2, 1 Both). Complications were: Grade 0 (no complication; 43.9%), Grade 1 (tightness and/or drifting of implant or Baker Grade II capsular contracture; 30.9%), Grade 2 (infection, hypertrophic scarring, or incisional necrosis; 9.8%), Grade 3 (Baker Grade III capsular contracture, wound dehiscence, or impending exposure of implant; 5.7%), Grade 4 (implant failure, exchange of implant, or Baker Grade IV capsular contracture; 9.8%). 15.3% (19 cases) experienced Grade 3 or 4 complication and 9.8% (12 cases) had Grade 4 complication. Considering non-irradiated breasts, there were two (1.6%) Grade 3–4 complications. For BMI, there was no significant difference by category as defined by the CDC (p = 0.91). Patients with depression were more likely to experience Grade 3 or 4 complication (29.4 vs 13.2%; p = 0.01). Using multiple logistic regression to predict the probability of a Grade 3 or 4 complications in patients with depression were found to be 4.2 times more likely to have a Grade 3 or 4 complication (OR = 4.2, p = 0.03).


Higher rates of TE reconstruction complications are expected in patients receiving radiotherapy. An unexpected finding was that patients reporting medical history of depression showed statistically significant increase in complication rates.


Breast cancer Post-mastectomy radiation Breast reconstruction Tissue expander Radiation Side effect Bilateral mastectomy Depression Risk factor 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul J. Chuba
    • 1
    • 7
  • William A. Stefani
    • 2
  • Carrie Dul
    • 3
  • Susan Szpunar
    • 4
  • Jeffrey Falk
    • 5
  • Rachael Wagner
    • 1
  • Elango Edhayan
    • 6
  • Anna Rabbani
    • 1
    • 7
  • Cynthia H. Browne
    • 1
    • 7
  • Amr Aref
    • 1
    • 7
  1. 1.Departments of Radiation OncologySt. John Macomb Oakland Hospital Webber Cancer CenterWarrenUSA
  2. 2.Renaissance Plastic SurgeryTroyUSA
  3. 3.Great Lakes Cancer ManagementMacombUSA
  4. 4.Department of Graduate Medical EducationSt. John Hospital and Medical CenterDetroitUSA
  5. 5.Michigan Breast SpecialistsGrosse PointeUSA
  6. 6.Department of SurgerySt John Hospital and Medical CenterDetroitUSA
  7. 7.St. John Hospital and Medical Center Van Elslander Cancer CenterGrosse PointeUSA

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