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Am J Surg. 1991 May;161(5):584-8.

Wound complications after modified radical mastectomy compared with tylectomy with axillary lymph node dissection.

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Department of General Surgery, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington.


Tylectomy with axillary lymph node dissection and radiotherapy (TAD) has become an accepted treatment for early breast cancer and has been shown to result in equal 5- and 8-year survival when compared with modified radical mastectomy (MRM). In order to determine the safety of TAD with respect to wound complications and to identify potential risk factors, we reviewed the charts of 560 patients undergoing MRM (n = 387) and TAD (n = 173) at Virginia Mason Medical Center from 1983 through 1989. The incidence of infection, seroma, hematoma, and epidermolysis were compared, and obesity, age 60 years or older, smoking, antibiotics, and wound drainage were examined as possible risk factors. There were more wound complications in the MRM group versus the TAD group (49% versus 35%; p less than 0.01), specifically more seromas (29% versus 18%; p less than 0.01) and epidermolysis (18% versus 0%). In the MRM group, age 60 years or older was associated with seroma (p less than 0.01) and smoking was associated with epidermolysis (p less than 0.01). In the TAD group, obesity was associated with infection. In both groups, volume of drainage from closed suction wound drains greater than 30 mL in the 24 hours prior to removal of the last drain was associated with seroma (p less than 0.05).

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