Reducing Seroma Formation and Its Sequelae After Mastectomy by Closure of the Dead Space: A Multi-center, Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial (SAM-Trial)

L. de Rooij*, S. M. J. van Kuijk, R. W. Y. Granzier, K. F. H. Hintzen, C. Heymans, L. L. B. Theunissen, E. M. von Meyenfeldt, J. A. van Essen, E. R. M. van Haaren, A. Janssen, Y. L. J. Vissers, G. L. Beets, J. van Bastelaar

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background Seroma is a common complication after mastectomy, with an incidence of 3% to 85%. Seroma is associated with pain, delayed wound healing, and additional outpatient clinic visits, leading potentially to repeated seroma aspiration or even surgical interventions. This study aimed to assess the effect of flap fixation using sutures or tissue glue in preventing seroma formation and its sequelae. Methods Between June 2014 and July 2018, 339 patients with an indication for mastectomy or modified radical mastectomy were enrolled in this randomized controlled trial in the Netherlands. Patients were randomly allocated to one of the three following arms: conventional wound closure (CON,n = 115), flap fixation using sutures (FFS,n = 111) or flap fixation using tissue glue (FFG,n = 113). The primary outcome was the need for seroma aspiration. The secondary outcomes were additional outpatient department visits, surgical-site infection, shoulder function and mobility, cosmesis, skin-dimpling, and postoperative pain scores. Results Flap fixation after mastectomy leads to fewer seroma aspirations than conventional wound closure (CON 17.5% vs FFS 7.3% vs FFG 10.8%;p = 0.057), with a significant difference between flap fixation with sutures and conventional wound closure (odds ratio [OR], 0.37; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.16-0.89;p = 0.025). Flap fixation has no significant negative effect on surgical-site infections, shoulder function and mobility, cosmesis, skin-dimpling, or postoperative pain. Conclusion Flap fixation using sutures leads to a significant reduction in aspirations of post-mastectomy seromas. The authors strongly advise surgeons to use sutures for flap fixation in patients undergoing mastectomy. ( no. NCT03305757). Preregistration The trial was registered after enrollment of the first participant. However, no specific explanation exists for this except that through the years more importance has been given to central trial registration. Our research team can ensure that after enrollment of the first participant, no changes were made to the trial, analysis plan, and/or study design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2599-2608
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of Surgical Oncology
Issue number5
Early online date19 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


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