Article

Breast Reconstruction with Free Tissue Transfer from the Abdomen in the Morbidly Obese

Division of Plastic Surgery, University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia, Pa 19104, USA.
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (Impact Factor: 3.33). 06/2011; 127(6):2206-13. DOI: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e3182131c93
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT There are national trends of increasing incidence of morbid obesity and autologous breast reconstruction with free tissue transfer from the abdomen. The purpose of this study was to assess the safety and efficacy of free flap breast reconstruction in the morbidly obese population.
A retrospective review was conducted on all patients who underwent transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous, deep inferior epigastric perforator, or superficial inferior epigastric artery flap breast reconstructions between July of 2006 and October of 2008. Data from all patients with a body mass index greater than 40 were compared with those of patients with a body mass index less than 40. A p value less than 0.05 was considered significant. Significant findings were then analyzed in a post hoc fashion to examine trends with increasing body mass index.
Four hundred four patients underwent 612 free flap breast reconstructions during the study period. Twenty-five of these patients (6 percent) had a body mass index greater than 40. The morbidly obese group had significantly higher rate of total flap loss (p = 0.02), total major postoperative complications (p = 0.05), and delayed wound healing (p = 0.006).
Free flap breast reconstruction in the morbidly obese is associated with a higher risk of total flap loss, total major postoperative complications, and delayed abdominal wound healing. However, the overall incidence of complications is low, making free tissue transfer from the abdomen an acceptable method of breast reconstruction in this patient population.

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