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March 1992

Wound-Healing Complications Following Biopsy of the Irradiated Breast

Author Affiliations

From the Divisions of Radiation Oncology (Drs Pezner and Luk) and Anatomic Pathology (Dr Ben-Ezra) and Departments of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (Dr Lorant), General and Oncologic Surgery (Dr Terz), and Biostatistics (Dr Odom-Maryon), City of Hope National Medical Center, Duarte, Calif.

Arch Surg. 1992;127(3):321-324. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1992.01420030091017

• A retrospective review evaluated results of 38 posttreatment biopsies (with resulting benign pathologic findings) that were performed on 32 irradiated breasts or axillae in 31 of 232 patients who underwent conservation treatment of early-stage breast cancer. Postbiopsy wound-healing complications developed in eight (30%) of 27 patients who were undergoing open biopsies but in none of 11 who underwent only needle biopsies. Wound-healing complications occurred in two of five patients who underwent incisional skin biopsy, three of five who underwent mammographic needle—localized excisional biopsy, and three of 17 who underwent other types of open biopsies. Frequency of wound-healing complications following open biopsy was not related to patient age, diabetes mellitus, cigarette smoking, or use of chemotherapy. Wound-healing complications were related to breast size, developing in four (67%) of six patients with large breasts (brassiere cup size D or DD) as compared with that in only four (19%) of 21 patients with smaller breasts. Significant worsening of cosmetic breast retraction was frequently associated with wound-healing complications, especially wounds that took more than 1 month to heal.

(Arch Surg. 1992;127:321-324)

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