Microsurgical Breast Reconstruction
Breast cancer, the most common cancer diagnosed in American women, often necessitates mastectomy. Many studies have demonstrated improved quality of life and well-being after breast reconstruction. Numerous techniques are available for breast reconstruction including tissue expander implants and autologous tissues. Microsurgical tissue transfer involves the use of excess skin and fat (flaps) from a remote location to reconstruct the breast. Most often, tissues are transferred from the abdomen and buttocks. Less commonly, thigh flaps are used. These operations can provide durable, esthetic reconstructions. In addition, advances in microsurgical techniques have improved operative success rates to the range of 99%. The selection of an appropriate flap for microsurgical breast reconstruction is multifactorial and is based on patient and oncologic factors. These factors include patient comorbidities, body habitus/availability of donor tissues, cancer stage, and the need for postoperative adjuvant radiation therapy, as well as the risk of cancer in the contralateral breast. Appropriate choice of flap and surgical technique can minimize the risk of operative complications. Additionally, several large series have established that microsurgical breast reconstruction has no impact on survival, or locoregional/distant recurrence rates.
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