Zeeda H. Nkana, BS; Kasey Leigh Wood, BS; Alison M. Karczewski, BS; Kirsten A. Gunderson, BS; Sarah M. Lyon, MD; Aaron M. Dingle, PhD; Samuel O. Poore, MD, PhD
WMJ. 2021;120(Suppl 1):S42-S47.
Introduction: Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in Wisconsin. Evidence demonstrates that non-White racial minorities in the United States exhibit a higher mortality rate and more advanced or aggressive presentations of the disease than their White counterparts. Postmastectomy breast reconstruction remains essential to the treatment and recovery of these patients; however, racial disparities in the receipt of reconstruction are evident. This study evaluates the presence of racial disparities in postoperative outcomes of breast reconstruction at a single institution in Wisconsin.
Methods: An institutional review board-exempt retrospective study of postoperative outcomes was performed using a single institution’s National Surgical Quality Improvement Program Registry to identify patients who underwent autologous or prosthesis-based breast reconstruction following mastectomy. Patient demographic, preoperative, operative, and postoperative variables were recorded. Postoperative outcomes in relation to self-reported race were evaluated using univariate analysis and propensity score matching.
Results: A total of 1,140 patients were included (1,092 White vs 48 non-White), with fewer non-White patients undergoing reconstruction. Patients of non-White race demonstrated a higher incidence of morbid obesity (4.4% White vs 12.5% non-White, P = 0.010) and bleeding disorders (0.3% White vs 4.2% non-White, P < 0.001). No association between self-reported race and postoperative complication was found.
Conclusion: This study did not reveal racial disparities in postoperative outcomes of breast reconstruction at a single institution in Wisconsin; however, non-White patients were less likely to undergo reconstruction. Further research into the underlying causes of unequal access to care, influence of insurance, effect of structural racism, and impact of physician- and patient-associated factors is warranted.