The Retrograde Limb of the Internal Mammary Vein: An Additional Outflow Option in DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction

University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (Impact Factor: 3.33). 10/2009; 124(3):717-21. DOI: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e3181b179fc
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flap has become an increasingly popular option for postmastectomy reconstruction. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the retrograde limb of the internal mammary vein as a recipient vein in DIEP breast reconstruction.
Fifteen consecutive DIEP flaps in 13 patients were transferred with anastomosis of one DIEP vena comitans to the antegrade internal mammary vein and the other DIEP vena comitans to the retrograde internal mammary vein. The deep inferior epigastric artery was anastomosed to the antegrade internal mammary artery. Blood flow through the retrograde internal mammary vein was evaluated with intraoperative duplex ultrasound.
Thirty venous anastomoses in 15 DIEP flaps for breast reconstruction were performed over a 4-month period to investigate the retrograde limb of the internal mammary vein as a potential recipient vein. No evidence of intraoperative venous congestion was seen. Retrograde blood flow was demonstrated using intraoperative duplex imaging and clinical examination. All 15 flaps were successful.
The retrograde limb of the internal mammary vein is an option as a recipient vein in DIEP breast reconstruction. This outflow option may prove useful in cases with intraoperative congestion in a single vein flap, in cases with co-dominant superficial and deep venous systems, and in cases in which double-pedicle free flaps are used for unilateral breast reconstruction.

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    ABSTRACT: For many microsurgeons, antegrade internal mammary vessels (AIMVs) represent the recipients of choice in autogenous breast reconstruction. For the past few years, the retrograde internal mammary vessels (RIMVs) have been demonstrated to be a further reliable option when needed, according to many papers focusing more on the vein than on the artery. Besides the clinical evidence, the hemodynamic features of the retrograde system have been very seldom analyzed.In this article, we report our clinical experience with deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flaps anastomosed to RIMVs, along with a perioperative radiological follow-up to study RIMVs' hemodynamics and to further support the reliability of the retrograde system with particular focus on the retrograde internal mammary artery.Prospective, preoperative, and postoperative (3 days, 21 days, and 3 months, respectively) color Doppler sonographies of the internal mammary artery (IMA) and DIEPs have been performed to collect the velocity of flow (v) and resistive index (RI) data. Twenty-two patients agreed to undergo this protocol, of which 10 unipedicle flaps were anastomosed to AIMVs ("control" group), 10 bipedicle DIEPs to both AIMVs and RIMVs ("study" group), and 2 DIEPs anastomosed to retrograde internal mammary artery and antegrade internal mammary vein (not statistically analyzed for their paucity). Student t test was performed to compare the "control" and "study" groups.All the flaps survived, and no re-exploration was needed. Internal mammary artery and perforators v showed similar but speculate trend, whereas IMA and perforators RI looked stable during that time. Significant differences have been found in the "study" group for IMA v at 3-day period, for perforator v at 21- and 90-day periods, and for perforator RI at 90-day period, without any clinical implication for flap viability.Retrograde internal mammary vessels can be considered reliable vessels for both arterial flap input and venous flap outflows, either as additional or the sole recipients. However, further and larger studies would be useful to better understand the hemodynamics of the retrograde system.
    Annals of plastic surgery 09/2013; 74(4). DOI:10.1097/SAP.0b013e31829fd2e3 · 1.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Breast reconstruction with deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flaps has gained considerable popularity due to reduced donor-site morbidity. Previous studies have identified the superficial venous system as the dominant outflow to DIEP flaps. DIEP flap venous congestion occurs if superficial venous outflow via the deep venous system is insufficient for effective flap drainage. Although augmentation of venous outflow through a second venous anastomosis may relieve venous congestion, effects on flap morbidity remain ill defined. Methods: A retrospective analysis of 1616 patients who underwent 2618 DIEP flap breast reconstructions between March 2005 and January 2012 was performed. Patients with intraoperative venous congestion underwent a second venous anastomosis. Preoperative demographic data and methods used to relieve venous congestion were recorded. Incidence of flap morbidity was calculated and compared with a group of 418 controls having 639 DIEP flap breast reconstructions with no venous congestion. Results: Venous augmentation was required to relieve venous congestion in 87 (3.3%) DIEP flaps on 81 patients. The superficial inferior epigastric vein or accompanying deep inferior epigastric venae comitantes was used to augment venous outflow. Preoperative comorbidities were similar between both groups. Patients requiring a second venous anastomosis had a longer operative time and length of hospital stay. Overall, flap morbidity, delayed wound healing, fat necrosis, and flap loss were similar to controls. Conclusions: Arterial and venous anatomies play unique roles in flap reliability. DIEP flap venous congestion must be treated expeditiously with venous augmentation to relieve venous congestion and mitigate flap morbidity.
    10/2013; 1(7):e52. DOI:10.1097/GOX.0b013e3182aa8736
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction: When recipient veins for free-flap breast reconstruction are unavailable or inadequate, vein grafts or cephalic vein transposition (CVT) an option to provide alternate venous outflow. There are no comparative data to elucidate the indications and outcomes for each. We hypothesize that the CVT is as reliable as vein grafts when indicated. Methods: All consecutive cases where a CVT or venous vein grafts were used for free-flap breast reconstruction between 2000 and 2012 were reviewed. Patient demographics, operative notes, indications, and flap survival were compared between the 2 groups. Results: Ten patients underwent a CVT and 38 patients received a vein graft for insufficient venous outflow. There were no differences in average age, body mass index, or comorbid conditions between the groups. Similarly, there was no difference in previous radiotherapy, timing of reconstruction, or side of reconstruction. A CVT was used for salvage following venous thrombosis in 7 patients (70.0%) and for primary venous outflow in the remaining patients due to inability to use the internal mammary vein. Vein grafts were performed primarily in 31 patients, 22 for augmenting venous drainage (supercharge), 9 for the dominant venous outflow, and 7 for salvage of a thrombosis. One patient in each group suffered a complete loss of the free flap (cephalic: 10.0% vs vein graft: 14.3%, P = 0.36). Conclusions: The CVT is a reliable alternate venous outflow that can be used as a primary recipient vein or as a salvage option following venous thrombosis. Surgeons should consider a CVT when primary recipient veins are compromised or unavailable.
    05/2014; 2(5):e141. DOI:10.1097/GOX.0000000000000056