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Br J Plast Surg. 1996 Sep;49(6):346-51.

A review of 120 Becker permanent tissue expanders in reconstruction of the breast.

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  • 1Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Newcastle General Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.


In reconstructive breast surgery, the permanent tissue expander has become popular because it avoids expander-implant exchange and gives the patient some control over the final breast size. It may, however, be associated with a number of complications. We therefore analysed the clinical notes of 111 consecutive recipients of Becker breast expanders with respect to complications and their possible predisposing factors. 120 prostheses were inserted in 111 consecutive patients with a mean age of 42.6 years. Median follow-up was 12 months (range 8 to 22). The commonest indication was postmastectomy breast reconstruction (81%) followed by congenital hypoplasia (14%) and acquired breast asymmetry following repeated biopsies (3%). Overexpansion before size adjustment was achieved after an average of 8 expander inflations. Complications included capsular contracture (9%), local tumour recurrence (8%), wound dehiscence (8%), filling port failure (6%), infected prostheses (4.5%) and ruptured implants (1.6%). The significant predisposing factors to wound dehiscence/infection were heavy smoking and radiotherapy (P < or = 0.05, chi 2 test). Expansion rate was not a factor. 89% of patients expressed satisfaction with the final aesthetic result. Despite the excellent results obtained with this technique, caution must be exercised in heavy smokers and the previously irradiated.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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