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Kyunghyun Min, Dong Nyeok Jeon, Eun Jeong Choi, Taik Jong Lee, Jin Sup Eom, Hyun Ho Han, Eun Key Kim

Although rarely used at present in South Korea, saline implants accounted for most of the implants used from 1992 to 2007. However, few studies have reported on the long-term outcomes of saline implants, especially in breast reconstruction. We analyzed the long-term outcomes of patients who underwent direct-to-saline implant reconstruction.
This retrospective study included patients who underwent saline implant-based immediate breast reconstruction between 2003 and 2007. The patients’ demographic information, medical history, operative/implant details, and oncologic data were collected. Early and late complications, reoperations, and final outcomes of the implant (maintenance, explantation, exchange, and autologous conversion) were analyzed to determine the long-term results and to identify factors affecting the outcomes.
Early complications (within 90 days) were noted in 19.5% of patients and late complications (after 90 days) occurred in 29.3% of patients. The most common early complications were skin necrosis and delayed healing, whereas the most common late complications were rippling or visibility and capsular contracture. Of the implants, 22% were replaced (12%) or converted to autologous tissue (10%). The factors that influenced the final outcomes were patient age, nipple-areola-sparing procedure, breast size, implant fill volume, and implant manufacturer.
Patients who previously received saline implants still visit the clinic for consultations. This long-term follow-up study with few dropouts reflects the real needs of reconstruction patients. Our results provide useful information for consulting with patients who already have saline implants or those who request for as much information about available implant options as possible.

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