The preservation of a spare hemi-abdominal flap in unilateral breast reconstruction with abdominal free flap in high risk patients

Jiri Vesely, P. Hyza, N. Monni, J. Lonigro, I. Stupka, A. DiMatteo, U. Choudry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Unilateral breast reconstruction with a free abdominal TRAM or DIEP flap restores the shape of the amputated breast with acceptable donor site morbidity. In patients with small breasts and ample lower abdominal tissue this can be achieved by using only a hemi-abdominal flap. In these cases, the contra-lateral flap is usually discarded, but it could potentially be left in situ as a "spare" hemi-abdominal flap, especially in patients at high risk for contra-lateral breast cancer or flap failure. We report our early experience with this preservation technique. Material and Methods: The authors report two cases of unilateral breast reconstruction with hemi-abdominal DIEP free flaps in women at high risk for contra-lateral breast cancer and/or flap failure, who opted not to have prophylactic contra-lateral mastectomies. They consented to having the unused "spare" hemi-abdominal deepithelialized flap left in situ in case the need for a secondary flap arose. Results: The "spare" hemi-abdominal flap was used for immediate reconstruction as an SIEA free flap when the first patient's original flap necrosed secondary to microcirculation problems. The second patient's spare flap was left in situ by burying it after de-epithelialization. Conclusions: We believe that patients undergoing unilateral breast reconstruction who are at high risk for contra-lateral breast cancer and/ or free flap failure, and who choose not to undergo an immediate contra-lateral prophylactic mastectomy, should have the "spare" hemi-abdominal flap buried. This tissue could be used as a potential bailout flap in cases of original flap failure or for contralateral breast reconstruction at a later date.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-75
Number of pages5
JournalActa Chirurgiae Plasticae
Volume50
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 24 2008

Keywords

  • Abdominal flap
  • Breast reconstruction
  • DIED flap
  • Perforator flap
  • Vasospasm

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