Focus on Technique
Prosthetic-based breast reconstruction commonly involves device placement in either a total submuscular pocket or a partial subpectoral position for just superior pole coverage, with various possible strategies for inferior pole coverage. Historically, the pectoralis major muscle is managed either by suturing the muscle to the inferior flap or with marionette sutures; alternatively, the device is placed under total muscle/fascia coverage (under the pectoralis major, plus the serratus anterior and rectus abdominis muscles or fascia). For many plastic surgeons, acellular dermal matrix is now used instead to function as a sling or “hammock” supporting the periprosthetic pocket and thus covering the inferior pole of the device, attached to the pectoralis major muscle above and to the inframammary fold below. In addition to its added soft-tissue support in the inferior pole, acellular dermal matrix may help to stabilize the pectoralis major muscle along its inferolateral margin, create a well-defined inframammary fold, provide the opportunity to significantly increase intraoperative fill volume of the tissue expander, and reduce the incidence or severity of significant or symptomatic capsular contracture, particularly in a patient whose breast has been treated with radiation. In addition to its indications in primary breast reconstruction, acellular dermal matrix has been increasingly used in secondary revision reconstruction cases. It can be used to buttress capsulorrhapy and capsulotomy sites and it can be used to replace periprosthetic capsule following capsulectomy. While clinical experience is accruing for these indications, acellular dermal matrix continues to be used in primary and secondary breast reconstruction.
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