Potential of the SPY Intraoperative Perfusion Assessment System to Reduce Ischemic Complications in Immediate Postmastectomy Breast Reconstruction

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BACKGROUND: The quality and viability of mastectomy flaps remain a central challenge in reconstructive surgery, particularly for immediate breast reconstruction. Insufficient perfusion in tissue flaps is a leading cause of early complications following reconstructive procedures, and clinical judgment alone is not completely reliable for the assessment of flap viability. Accurate and reliable intraoperative methods for assessment of tissue perfusion are needed to help surgeons identify tissue at risk for ischemia and necrosis, thereby allowing for maneuvers to improve tissue flap viability.

METHODS: This study evaluates the use of intraoperative laser angiography using the SPY System (LifeCell Corp., Branchburg, NJ) for the assessment of perfusion in mastectomy flaps for immediate breast reconstruction. The SPY System uses the contrast agent indocyanine green, which has an excellent safety profile and pharmacokinetics that allow for repeat evaluations during the same surgical procedure. In recent work, the SPY System has demonstrated high sensitivity and specificity for detection of tissues at risk for ischemia and necrosis during reconstructive surgery. Using a retrospective, chart-review design, the authors compared consecutive cases of immediate breast reconstruction using a prosthesis, before and after implementation of the SPY System.

RESULTS: Ninety-one subjects were included in the analysis: 52 prior to SPY (Pre-SPY) and 39 after implementation of SPY (Post-SPY). Baseline characteristics were similar between the groups. Both groups had high rates of comorbidities, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. The rate of postoperative complications was two-fold higher in the Pre-SPY group compared to the Post-SPY group (36.5% vs. 17.9%); this difference was of borderline significance (P = 0.0631). However, mean number of repeat visits to the OR per patient was significantly higher in the Pre-SPY group (1.21 ± 1.47 vs. 0.41 ± 0.71; P = 0.0023). Of the seven patients with complications in the Post-SPY group, five were identified by SPY as having poor flap perfusion; none were identified by clinical judgment alone.

CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that the SPY System can contribute to reduced ischemia-related complications in a population of women undergoing immediate breast reconstruction following mastectomy for breast cancer.

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Annals of Surgical Innovation and Research





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This article was published in Annals of Surgical Innovation and Research, Volume 7, Issue 1, July 23, 2013, Page 9.

The published version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1750-1164-7-9

Copyright © 2013 Sood and Glat; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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