Background: Risk-reducing mastectomy (RRM) helps prevent breast cancer in high-risk women but also carries a risk of unanticipated supplemental surgeries. We sought to determine the likelihood of supplemental surgeries following RRM.
Methods: We performed a retrospective cohort study of female patients with a confirmed germline pathogenic variant (GPV) in a breast cancer susceptibility gene (BRCA1/2, PALB2 and others) who underwent bilateral or contralateral RRM at our institution between 2006 and 2022. Supplemental surgeries were defined as any operation requiring general or local anesthesia performed outside of the initially planned procedure(s). The Kaplan-Meier method was used to estimate the 5-years cumulative incidence of supplemental surgery.
Results: Of 560 GPV carriers, RRMs were performed in 258 (46.1%) women. The median age of the cohort was 44 years (interquartile range 37-52 years), with 33 (12.8%) patients undergoing RRM without reconstruction and 225 (87.2%) undergoing RRM with reconstruction. Following surgery, 34 patients (13.2%) developed early (< 30 days) postoperative complications, including infection, hematoma, seroma, loss of the nipple areola complex, flap necrosis, implant exposure and/or prosthesis removal. At a median follow-up of 3.8 years, 94 (36.4%) GPV carriers underwent at least one reoperation. Participants who experienced an early postoperative complication had the highest rate of reoperation (85.3% vs. 29.0%; p < 0.001) and a significantly higher likelihood of multiple additional surgical interventions (41.2% vs. 10.7%; p < 0.001). The 5-years rate of supplemental surgery was 39.2% [95% confidence interval (CI) 32.7-46.5] in the overall cohort and 31.5% (95% CI 24.9-39.3) in patients without an early postoperative complication.
Conclusions: Unanticipated supplemental surgeries occur in 40% of GPV carriers following RRM and in nearly one-third of patients without early postoperative complications.
(note: this article is not open access)