BACKGROUND: Immediate breast reconstruction (IBR) is routinely offered to improve quality-of-life for women requiring mastectomy, but there are concerns that more complex surgery may delay adjuvant oncological treatments and compromise long-term outcomes. High-quality evidence is lacking. The iBRA-2 study aimed to investigate the impact of IBR on time to adjuvant therapy.
METHODS: Consecutive women undergoing mastectomy ± IBR for breast cancer July-December, 2016 were included. Patient demographics, operative, oncological and complication data were collected. Time from last definitive cancer surgery to first adjuvant treatment for patients undergoing mastectomy ± IBR were compared and risk factors associated with delays explored.
RESULTS: A total of 2540 patients were recruited from 76 centres; 1008 (39.7%) underwent IBR (implant-only [n = 675, 26.6%]; pedicled flaps [n = 105,4.1%] and free-flaps [n = 228, 8.9%]). Complications requiring re-admission or re-operation were significantly more common in patients undergoing IBR than those receiving mastectomy. Adjuvant chemotherapy or radiotherapy was required by 1235 (48.6%) patients. No clinically significant differences were seen in time to adjuvant therapy between patient groups but major complications irrespective of surgery received were significantly associated with treatment delays.
CONCLUSIONS: IBR does not result in clinically significant delays to adjuvant therapy, but post-operative complications are associated with treatment delays. Strategies to minimise complications, including careful patient selection, are required to improve outcomes for patients.