The American College of Surgeons National Quality Improvement Program Incompletely Captures Implant-Based Breast Reconstruction Complications

Joseph Banuelos, Editt N. Taslakian, Minh Doan T. Nguyen, Oscar J. Manrique, Nho V. Tran, Jorys Martinez-Jorge, Tina Hieken, James Jakub, Elizabeth B. Habermann, Basel Sharaf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background Implant-based breast reconstruction (IBR) accounts for 70% of postmastectomy reconstructions in the United States. Improving the quality of surgical care in IBR patients through accurate measurements of outcomes is necessary. The purpose of this study is to compare the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) data from our institution to our complete institutional health records database. Methods Data were collected and recorded for all patients undergoing IBR at our institution from 2015 to 2017. The data were completely identified and compared with our institutional NSQIP database for demographics and complications. Results The electronic health records data search identified 768 IBR patients in 3 years and NSQIP reported on 229 (30%) patients. Demographics were reported similarly among the 2 databases. Rates of tissue expander/implant infections (5.9% vs 1.8%; P = 0.003) and wound dehiscence (3.5% vs 0.4%; P = 0.003) were not reported similarly between our database and NSQIP. However, the rates of hematoma (2.7% vs 1.8%) and skin flap necrosis (2.5% vs 1.8%) were comparable between the two databases. In our database, 43% of all complications presented after 30 days of surgery, beyond NSQIP's capture period. Conclusions Databases built on partial sampling, such as the NSQIP, may be useful for demographic analyses, but fall short of providing data for complications after IBR, such as infections and wound dehiscence. These results highlight the utility and importance of complete databases. National comparisons of clinical outcomes for IBR should be interpreted with caution when using partial databases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-275
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of plastic surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • breast reconstruction
  • breast reconstruction outcomes
  • breast reconstruction quality improvement
  • database
  • implant
  • tissue expander

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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