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J Med Case Rep. 2011 May 28;5:212. doi: 10.1186/1752-1947-5-212.

Traditional electrosurgery and a low thermal injury dissection device yield different outcomes following bilateral skin-sparing mastectomy: a case report.

Author information

  • 1PEAK Surgical, Inc,, 2464 Embarcadero Way, Palo Alto, CA 94303, USA. jvose@peaksurgical.com.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Although a skin- and nipple-sparing mastectomy technique offers distinct cosmetic and reconstructive advantages over traditional methods, partial skin flap and nipple necrosis remain a significant source of post-operative morbidity. Prior work has suggested that collateral thermal damage resulting from electrocautery use during skin flap development is a potential source of this complication. This report describes the case of a smoker with recurrent ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) who experienced significant unilateral skin necrosis following bilateral skin-sparing mastectomy while participating in a clinical trial examining mastectomy outcomes with two different surgical devices. This unexpected complication has implications for the choice of dissection devices in procedures requiring skin flap preservation.

CASE PRESENTATION:

The patient was a 61-year-old Caucasian woman who was a smoker with recurrent DCIS of her right breast. As part of the clinical trial, each breast was randomized to either the standard of care treatment group (a scalpel and a traditional electrosurgical device) or treatment with a novel, low thermal injury dissection device, allowing for a direct, internally controlled comparison of surgical outcomes. Post-operative follow-up at six days was unremarkable for both operative sites. At 16 days post-surgery, the patient presented with a significant wound necrosis in the mastectomy site randomized to the control study group. Following debridement and closure, this site progressively healed over 10 weeks. The contralateral mastectomy, randomized to the alternative device, healed normally.

CONCLUSION:

We hypothesize that thermal damage to the subcutaneous microvasculature during flap dissection may have contributed to this complication and that the use of a low thermal injury dissection device may be advantageous in select patients undergoing skin- and nipple-sparing mastectomy.

PMID:
21619665
[PubMed]
PMCID:
PMC3118368
Free PMC Article
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