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Sifting through the Evidence: A Comprehensive Review and Analysis of Neurotization in Breast Reconstruction.

Authors
  • Weissler, Jason M1
  • Koltz, Peter F
  • Carney, Martin J
  • Serletti, Joseph M
  • Wu, Liza C
  • 1 Philadelphia, Pa. From the Division of Plastic Surgery, University of Pennsylvania.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Plastic and reconstructive surgery
Publication Date
Mar 01, 2018
Volume
141
Issue
3
Pages
550–565
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000004108
PMID: 29481387
Source
Medline
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

An untoward outcome following breast reconstruction is diminished or complete loss of sensation. As the reconstructive paradigm continues to evolve, sensory restoration following reconstruction remains a research focus. Despite the multitude of published outcomes, there is marked heterogeneity across studies, thus confounding published outcomes. This study critically appraises the literature to summarize outcomes and establish a framework to guide clinical practice and future research. A literature review was conducted according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines in an effort to perform a meta-analysis. The Ovid MEDLINE, PubMed, Embase, Scopus, Cochrane, and ClinicalTrials.gov online databases were queried to capture all publications between 1990 and 2017 that investigated postreconstruction breast sensation. The primary outcome of interest was breast sensation following both implant-based and autologous reconstruction with or without neurotization. Secondary outcomes of interest included time to sensory testing and patient-reported outcomes. Overall, 503 titles were screened, from which 37 articles were ultimately included for analysis, accounting for 1299 patients. There was major methodologic variability and inconsistent measurable outcomes across studies. It can be deduced that postoperative sensation returns spontaneously and unpredictably, neurotization enhances the magnitude and rapidity of sensory restoration when compared to nonneurotized reconstruction, and a sensate reconstruction improves patient-reported outcomes. Significant study design discrepancies exist, making it difficult to combine data and assess results. To effectively study breast sensation and the impact of neurotization, future investigation will depend on standardizing the way in which breast sensation is measured.

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