Breast reconstruction during the COVID-19 pandemic: Single institution experience from the pandemic's epicenter in the United States

Carter J Boyd, Kshipra Hemal, Sruthi Ramesh, Jonathan M Bekisz, Ara A Salibian, Vishal Thanik, Jamie P Levine, Mihye Choi, Nolan S Karp
Breast reconstruction during the COVID-19 pandemic: Single institution experience from the pandemic's epicenter in the United States

The coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic dramatically changed the delivery of breast cancer care. The objective of this study was to quantify the effect of the pandemic on breast cancer screening, treatment, and reconstruction at a single institution in New York City.

A retrospective chart review was conducted to determine the number of mammograms, lumpectomies, mastectomies, and breast reconstruction operations performed between January 1, 2019 and June 30, 2021. Outcomes analyzed included changes in mammography, oncologic surgery, and breast reconstruction surgery volume before, during and after the start of the pandemic.

Mammography volume declined by 11% in March-May of 2020. Oncologic breast surgeries and reconstructive surgeries similarly declined by 6.8% and 11%, respectively, in 2020 compared with 2019, reaching their lowest levels in April 2020. The volume of all procedures increased during the summer of 2020. Mammography volumes in June and July 2020 were found to be at pre-COVID levels, and in October-December 2020 were 15% higher than in 2019. Oncologic breast surgeries saw a similar rebound in May 2020, with 24.6% more cases performed compared with May 2019. Breast reconstruction volumes increased, though changes in the types of reconstruction were noted. Oncoplastic closures were more common during the pandemic, while two-stage implant reconstruction and immediate autologous reconstruction decreased by 27% and 43%, respectively. All procedures are on track to increase in volume in 2021 compared to that in 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic reduced the volume of breast cancer surveillance, surgical treatment, and reconstruction procedures. While it is reassuring that volumes have rebounded in 2021, efforts must be made to emphasize screening and treatment procedures in the face of subsequent surges, such as that recently attributable to the Delta and Omicron variants.

Read full article here: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35317981/