Annals of Surgical Oncology

, Volume 20, Issue 10, pp 3212–3217 | Cite as

Increased Postoperative Complications in Bilateral Mastectomy Patients Compared to Unilateral Mastectomy: An Analysis of the NSQIP Database

  • Fahima Osman
  • Fady Saleh
  • Timothy D. Jackson
  • Mark A. Corrigan
  • Tulin CilEmail author
Breast Oncology



Recent studies indicate that women with unilateral breast cancer are choosing contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM) at an increasing rate. There is limited literature evaluating the postoperative complication rates associated with CPM without breast reconstruction. The objective of this study was to compare postoperative complications in women undergoing unilateral mastectomy (UM) and sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) to those undergoing bilateral mastectomy (BM) and SLNB for the treatment of their breast cancer.


The American College of Surgeons National Surgery Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) Participant Use Files between 2007 and 2010 were used to identify women with breast cancer undergoing UM or BM with SLNB. Individual and composite end points of 30-day complications were used to compare both groups by univariate and multivariate analyses.


We identified 4,219 breast cancer patients who had a SLNB: 3,722 (88.2 %) had UM and 497 (11.8 %) had BM. The wound complication rate was significantly higher in the BM group versus the UM group, 5.8 % versus 2.9 % [unadjusted odds ratio (OR) 2.1, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.3–3.3, P < 0.01]. The overall 30-day complication rate in UM patients was 4.2 % versus 7.6 % in the BM group (unadjusted OR 1.9, 95 % CI 1.3–2.7, P < 0.01). The adjusted OR for overall complications adjusting for important patient characteristics was 1.9 (95 % CI 1.3–2.8, P < 0.01). Independent predictors of overall postoperative complications were body mass index (OR 1.1, P < 0.01) and smoking (OR 2.2, P < 0.01).


For patients with breast cancer, bilateral mastectomy is associated with an increased risk of wound and overall postoperative complications. Discussion of these outcomes is imperative when counseling women contemplating CPM.


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy Breast Reconstruction Contralateral Breast Cancer Contralateral Prophylactic Mastectomy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Drs. Osman, Saleh, Jackson, Corrigan and Cil have no financial affiliations to disclose. No external sources of funding were used for this study.


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Copyright information

© Society of Surgical Oncology 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fahima Osman
    • 1
  • Fady Saleh
    • 2
  • Timothy D. Jackson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mark A. Corrigan
    • 3
  • Tulin Cil
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of SurgeryUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Division of General SurgeryUniversity Health NetworkTorontoCanada
  3. 3.University College CorkCorkIreland
  4. 4.Department of SurgeryWomen’s College HospitalTorontoCanada

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