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Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery:
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Use of Circumflex Scapular Vessels as a Recipient Pedicle for Autologous Breast Reconstruction: A Report of 40 Consecutive Cases.

Lantieri, Laurent A. M.D.; Mitrofanoff, Marc M.D.; Rimareix, Françoise M.D.; Gaston, Erick M.D.; Raulo, Yvon M.D.; Baruch, Jean P. M.D

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Abstract

The use of the circumflex scapular pedicle as a recipient vessel for breast reconstruction in a series of 40 consecutive cases in 37 patients is reported. There were 3 bilateral reconstructions and 34 unilateral reconstructions. Twenty-one cases were immediate reconstructions, and 19 cases were secondary reconstructions. The diameter of the artery varied from 1.5 mm to 3 mm and systematically matched with the diameter of the epigastric artery. The artery was a branch of the subscapular system in 82.5 percent of cases (33 of 40). In 17.5 percent of cases (7 of 40), the artery was a direct branch of the axillary artery. The length of available pedicle between the axillary vessel and the distal part where it can be divided (on its division between scapular and parascapular artery) was of 76 +/- 13 mm for the artery and 72 +/- 12 mm for the vein. The vein was unique in 77.5 percent of cases. The diameter was similar to the artery diameter when unique. There was a dual venous system in 21 of 40 cases (52.5 percent) but in 15 cases (37.5 percent), one of the two veins was dominant. In the seven cases for which the veins were dual and of equivalent diameter, the epigastric veins were also dual and allowed a second anastomosis. Clinically, the anastomosis was always possible on the artery. In one case of reconstruction after Halstedt mastectomy, no vein could be found, because all the veins had been ligated previously. One venous thrombosis (2.5 percent) and one arterial thrombosis were experienced. Both were treated by revised anastomoses and did not compromise late results. The circumflex scapular pedicle is a reliable and simple recipient site for breast reconstruction. It allows a unique site of dissection in immediate reconstruction and avoids division of the thoracodorsal pedicle. The technique is now used exclusively at this institution. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 104: 2049, 1999.)

(C)1999American Society of Plastic Surgeons

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