Absorbable Biosynthetic Scaffolds in Place of Silicone for Breast Reconstruction: A 9-Year Experience with 53 Patients

Robert D. Rehnke*, John M. Clarke, Aaron J. Goodrum, Stephen F. Badylak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Few series report on using fat grafting as the primary form of breast reconstruction. A 9-year experience with absorbable biosynthetic scaffolds, used in place of silicone implants, for breast reconstruction is reviewed. Methods: A clinical quality improvement approach was used to evaluate real-world data on a single plastic surgeon's experience treating breast reconstruction patients over a 7-year period. Results: Fifty-three patients had 74 breasts reconstructed, (following 51 therapeutic mastectomies and 23 prophylactic). Five of the 51 breasts (9.80 %) developed a local recurrence (mean follow-up of 4.5-5.5 years). This compared favorably with the practice's previous 6 years of silicone reconstructions. The most common complications were benign fat necrosis and oil cysts. More than 100 radiologic examinations were performed without interference by the absorbable implants. By 12-18 months post implantation, very little immune response was seen on histologic examinations of the biosynthetic scaffold constructs. Mature collagen and robust vascularity characterized the "mesh zone," whereas regenerated adipose tissue was seen in between and on top of the folded sheets of the implants. The average number of fat graft sessions in immediate reconstructions was 2.3, with a mean total fat graft volume of 551 mL, to restore an average mastectomy defect volume of 307 mL. Aesthetic outcomes were much better in the immediate reconstruction of nipple-sparing mastectomy group, which saw 68% achieve an A/B grade; 19%, C grade; and 13%, D/F on subjective grading. Conclusion: This composite strategy, using biosynthetic scaffold and autologous fat grafting, yielded outcomes equivalent to flap reconstructions with the ease of implants.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberE5821
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery - Global Open
Issue number5
StatePublished - 17 May 2024
Externally publishedYes

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