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Alexander D. Bach, Isabelle H. Morgenstern, Raymund E. Horch
(Department of Plastic and Aesthetic Surgery, Hand Surgery and Reconstructive Surgery, Euregio Breast Center, St.-Antonius-Hospital, Eschweiler, Germany)
Med Sci Monit 2020; 26:e921329
The use of autologous tissue for breast reconstructive surgery following mastectomy has become routine and allows for excellent symmetry and aesthetic results. However, in some cases, the amount of tissue available from the utilized flaps is not enough to achieve the desired outcome. The use of autologous fat grafting, as well as other techniques, has been described to deal with such problems. However, though well-established, these techniques may also fail to achieve the desired results. The aim of this study was to highlight the opportunity to improve aesthetic results using a secondary prosthesis underneath the previously used free flap and to examine whether this is a safe and reasonable procedure.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: In our study we included patients with unsatisfied aesthetic results after free flap procedures (DIEP, S-GAP, TMG, and FCI) between 2011 and 2018. In each case described, a secondary prosthesis was placed underneath the original flap in order to improve symmetry, shape and projection. Patient age, indication for surgery, adjuvant therapy, complications and outcomes have been registered. A 12-point scale was established to analyze patient satisfaction and aesthetic outcome.
RESULTS: Overall “operative success” was achieved in all 13 patients (14 flaps) evaluated. At 12 months after reconstruction, all aesthetic scores collected were between good and excellent. In contrast to other studies, we chose a secondary approach for the flap augmentation and we used the epipectoral pocket for the placement of the implant. In our series, low rates of early and late post-operative complications were observed, with a high overall rate of satisfaction.
CONCLUSIONS: The demonstrated “Hybrid Breast Reconstruction” approach, using an implant underneath a free flap autologous breast reconstruction, provided a safe and reliable option to optimize breast reconstruction outcomes.