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: 2.99). 06/2011; 127(6):2206-13. DOI: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e3182131c93
Source: PubMed


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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    • "Most notably, we report a 42.9% DIEP flap loss rate in morbidly obese patients. These findings are echoed in further analyses of free-flap reconstruction in the obese and morbidly obese [18-20]. Because of the high risk of flap loss in these patients, we recommend exercising extreme caution when utilizing DIEP flaps in morbidly obese patients. "
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    ABSTRACT: Perforator flaps minimize abdominal site morbidity during autologous breast reconstruction. The purpose of this study was to assess whether the number of perforators harvested influences the overall deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flap survival and flap-related complications. A retrospective review was performed of all DIEP flaps performed at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania from 2006 to 2011. The outcomes assessed included flap loss and major complications. We compared flaps by the number of total perforators (1-4) and then carried out a subgroup analysis comparing flaps with one perforator to flaps with multiple perforators. Lastly, we conducted a post-hoc analysis based on body mass index (BMI) categorization. Three hundred thirty-three patients underwent 395 DIEP flaps. No significant differences were noted in the flap loss rate or the overall complications across perforator groups. However, the subgroup analysis revealed significantly higher rates of fat necrosis in the case of one-perforator flaps than in the case of multiple-perforator flaps (10.2% vs. 3.1%, P=0.009). The post-hoc analysis revealed a significant increase in the flap loss rate with increasing BMI (<30=2.0%, 30-34.9=3.1%, 35-39.9=3.1%, >40=42.9%, P<0.001) in the DIEP flaps, but no increase in fat necrosis. This study demonstrates that the number of perforators does not impact the rate of flap survival. However, the rate of fat necrosis may be significantly higher in DIEP flaps based on a single perforator. Multiple perforators should be utilized if possible to decrease the risk of fat necrosis.
    Archives of Plastic Surgery 01/2014; 41(1):63-70. DOI:10.5999/aps.2014.41.1.63

  • Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 06/2011; 127(6):2214-5. DOI:10.1097/PRS.0b013e3182131a8b · 2.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Component separation (CS) is an effective technique for reconstructing complex abdominal wall defects. Violation of the rectus abdominis complex is considered a contraindication for CS, but we hypothesized that patients have similar outcomes with or without rectus complex violation. We retrospectively studied all consecutive patients who underwent CS for abdominal wall reconstruction during 8 years and compared outcomes of patients with and without rectus violation. Primary outcomes measures included complications and hernia recurrence. Logistic regression analysis identified potential associations between patient, defect, and reconstructive characteristics and surgical outcomes. One hundred sixty-nine patients were included: 115 (68%) with and 54 (32%) without rectus violation. Mean follow-up was 21.3 ± 14.5 months. Patient and defect characteristics were similar, except for the rectus violation group having a higher body mass index. Overall complication rates were similar in the violation (24.3%) and nonviolation (24.0%) groups, as were the respective rates of recurrent hernia (7.8% vs 9.2%; p = 0.79), abdominal bulge (3.5% vs 5.6%; p = 0.71), skin dehiscence (20.0% vs 22.2%; p = 0.74), skin necrosis (6.1% vs 3.7%; p = 0.72), cellulitis (7.8% vs 9.2%; p = 0.75), and abscess (12.3% vs 9.2%; p = 0.58). Regression analysis demonstrated body mass index to be the only factor predictive of complications. CS surgical outcomes were similar whether or not the rectus complex was violated. To our knowledge, this study is the first to evaluate the effects of rectus violation on surgical outcomes in CS patients. Surgeons should not routinely avoid CS when the rectus complex is violated.
    Journal of the American College of Surgeons 12/2011; 214(2):131-9. DOI:10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2011.10.015 · 5.12 Impact Factor
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