Postoperative Complications Following Lumpectomy With Intraoperative X-Ray Radiation Therapy: A Retrospective Comparative Study

Hadas Kadar Sfarad*, Tanir M. Allweis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Lumpectomy with intraoperative radiation (IORT) is a relatively new modality for the treatment of early breast cancer. IORT delivers targeted radiation to the tumor bed and obviates the need for external beam radiation (EBRT) in 85% of the cases. IORT is being used increasingly around the world, however information regarding early and late postoperative complications associated with the procedure is limited. Aim: To describe and compare complication rates after lumpectomy and IORT with those seen after lumpectomy and EBRT or lumpectomy alone. Methods: Clinical, demographic, and histopathological data were collected from electronic medical records and a retrospectively maintained database. Postoperative complications were compared for patients undergoing lumpectomy with IORT, lumpectomy with EBRT, and lumpectomy alone over the same period. Results: A total of 445 patients were included in the study: 113 underwent lumpectomy with IORT, 253 had lumpectomy followed by EBRT, and 79 had Lumpectomy alone. Postoperative seroma was documented in 74 patients (65%) after IORT,87 (34%) after EBRT, and 9 (11%) after lumpectomy alone (P = .000). Surgical site infection requiring antibiotic treatment was diagnosed in 26 patients (23%) after IORT, 38 (15%) after EBRT, and 5 (6%) after lumpectomy alone (P = .013). Postoperative erythema was documented in 39 patients (34%) after IORT, 40 (16%) after EBRT, and 5 (6%) after lumpectomy alone (P = .000). Postoperative minor complications such as scar and breast deformity, edema, Mondor's syndrome, and chronic tenderness, were documented in 62 patients (55%) after IORT, 119 (47%) after EBRT, and 13 (17%) after lumpectomy alone (P = .000). The average follow-up was 14 months. Conclusions: IORT is associated with an increased rate of postoperative complications compared to EBRT or lumpectomy alone. Most complications are minor and transient. We hypothesize that the increased occurrence of complications may also be attributed to overreporting, which is associated with the introduction of a new technology. Educating physicians and patients about potential complications and their course may help establish expectations and improve the management of postoperative complications.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)237-242
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Breast Cancer
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Inc.


  • Breast complications
  • Breast radiology
  • IORT
  • Post radiation seroma
  • Seroma of breast


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