Arch Plast Surg.  2021 Sep;48(5):473-482. 10.5999/aps.2020.02362.

Objective photographic assessments and comparisons of immediate bilateral breast reconstruction using deep inferior epigastric perforator flaps and implants

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Plastic Surgery, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea

Abstract

Background
The increasing number of bilateral breast cancer patients has been accompanied by a growing need for bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. However, little research has investigated the complications and aesthetic outcomes related to bilateral reconstruction. Therefore, we analyzed retrospective data comparing the outcomes of bilateral reconstruction using deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flaps or implants.
Methods
This study included 52 patients (24 DIEP group and 28 implant group) who underwent bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction between 2010 and 2020. Patient demographics, surgical characteristics, and complications were recorded. The difference between the left and right position of the nipple-areolar complex with respect to the sternal notch point at the clavicle was measured, and breast symmetry was evaluated.
Results
The average weight of breasts reconstructed with DIEP flaps (417.43±152.50 g) was higher than that of breasts with implants. The hospitalization period and operation time were significantly longer in the DIEP group. Early complications were significantly more common in the implant group (36.53%) than in the DIEP group. The angles between the nipples and the horizontal line were 1.09°±0.71° and 1.75°±1.45° in the DIEP and implant groups, respectively.
Conclusions
Although the surgical burden is lower, breast reconstruction using implants requires greater attention with respect to implant positioning, asymmetry, and complications than DIEP flap reconstruction. DIEP flap reconstruction has a prolonged operation time and a high risk of flap failure, but yields excellent cosmetic results and does not require intensive follow-up. Patients should be consulted to determine the most suitable option for them.

Keyword

Breast reconstruction / Breast neoplasms / Perforator flaps / Free tissue flap / Breast implants
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