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Researchers find complications arise in one-third of post-mastectomy implant procedures

Copenhagen, Denmark — According to a study published in the December issue of Archives of Surgery, nearly one-third of women who underwent post-mastectomy reconstructive breast implantation had at least one short-term complication in the chest or breast area, and about 20 percent of them needed additional surgery.

A research group from the Danish Registry for Plastic Surgery of the Breast analyzed data from 574 women who underwent post-mastectomy breast reconstruction over a three-year period ending in July, 2003. Following their first implantation, 31 percent of the women developed at least one adverse event, 16 percent developed two complications and 8 percent experienced three or more. The most common complications were infection, blood clotting, seroma and skin perforation. Additional surgery was required for 21 percent of the women, while 3 percent underwent additional, non-surgical treatment. Surgery was most often needed to correct asymmetry of the breasts, implant displacement or capsular constriction.

Data on 302 women who underwent re-implantation was also analyzed in the study. These women had similar rates of complication — 36 percent developed at least one adverse reaction and 21 percent required additional surgery.

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