INTRODUCTION: The purpose of this study was to share the authors 10 year experience with a new concept in autologous delayed breast reconstruction using deepithelialized pedicled flaps in order to achieve tissue expansion without the use of allogenic expanders.
METHODS: A retrospective analysis of all the patients who underwent deepithelialized thoracodorsal flap (a combination of a musculocutaneous LD with a thoracic fasciocutaneous extension), deepithelialized latissimus dorsi flap or deepithelialized TRAM flap reconstruction between 1999 and 2009 was performed. All the flaps were buried under the mastectomy skin and no skin paddles were used in any of the cases.
RESULTS: A total of 208 patients including 137 thoracodorsal, 60 TRAM and 11 deepithelialized Latissimus dorsi flaps were performed by the senior surgeon. The average operative time was 90 minutes, 120 minutes and 140 minutes for the deepithelialized Latissimus dorsi, thoracodorsal and TRAM flaps respectively. The mean follow-up period was 4 years, ranging from 1 to 10 years. Although no complete flap loss was reported, fat necrosis was found in 12 % of TRAM flaps. Tissue expansion without the need of allogenic expanders or implants was achieved in all the patients; expansion under the non irradiated breast occurred over the 3 months following reconstruction, where as that under irradiated breasts occurred gradually over the 5 months following reconstruction. The average breast size obtained was cup C. Secondary procedures included lipofilling (20%), contralateral breast remodeling was done in 93% of the cases.
CONCLUSION: In selected cases, tissue expansion of mastectomy skin can be solely achieved by autologous tissue without the need to skin expanders. This method provides a new concept in autologous breast reconstruction circumventing the use of prosthetic material.
Keywords: Latissimus dorsi flap; Breast reconstruction; Transplantation autologous; Tissue expansion.