Surgical Morbidity of Full-Thickness Chest Wall Resection for Breast Cancer: A Retrospective Study of a National Database

Maryam Elmi, Elliot Wakeam, Arash Azin, Roseanna Presutti, David R. McCready, Tulin D. Cil, Shaf Keshavjee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Full-thickness chest wall resection (FTCWR) is an underused modality for treating locally advanced primary or recurrent breast cancer invading the chest wall, for which little data exist regarding morbidity and mortality. We examined the postoperative complication rates in breast cancer patients undergoing FTCWR using a large multinational surgical outcomes database. Methods: A retrospective cohort analysis was conducted using the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database. All patients undergoing FTCWR for breast cancer between 2007 and 2016 were identified (n = 137). Primary outcome measures included 30-d postoperative morbidity, composite respiratory complications, and hospital length of stay (LOS). The secondary aim was to compare the postoperative morbidity of FTCWR to those of patients undergoing mastectomy. One-to-one coarsened exact matching was conducted between two groups, which were then compared with respect to morbidity, mortality, reoperations, readmissions, and LOS. Results: The overall rate of postoperative morbidity was 11.7%. Two patients (1.5%) had respiratory complications requiring intubation. Median hospital LOS was 2 d. In the coarsened exact matching analysis, 122 patients were included in each of the two groups. Comparison of matched cohorts demonstrated an overall morbidity for the FTCWR group of 11.5% compared with 8.2% for the mastectomy group (8.2%) (P = 0.52). Conclusions: FTCWR for the local treatment of breast cancer can be performed with relatively low morbidity and respiratory complications. This is the largest study looking at postoperative complications for FTCWR in the treatment of breast cancer. Future studies are needed to determine the long-term outcomes of FTCWR in this patient population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-166
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Breast cancer
  • Chest wall resection
  • Mastectomy
  • National Surgical Quality Improvement Program
  • Surgical management of cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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