The authors present a single center’s experience in bilateral breast reconstruction using perforator free flaps. The aim of this study was to show their indications, surgical technique, and results. A series of 53 patients underwent this procedure between February of 1996 and October of 2002. The surgical procedures were performed on patients with bilateral breast cancer (11 patients), patients with unilateral breast cancer and contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (22 patients), patients who had undergone bilateral prophylactic mastectomy (18 patients), a patient with Poland’s syndrome, and a patient whose aesthetic breast augmentation had failed. Primary and secondary bilateral breast reconstructions were done in 18 and four patients, respectively. Eighteen patients who had earlier undergone breast reconstruction with implants had a tertiary breast reconstruction. Combined reconstruction (primary with secondary and primary with tertiary reconstruction) was done in 13 patients. Ninety-eight deep inferior epigastric perforator flaps and eight superior gluteal artery perforator flaps were used. The average operative time was 10 hours (range, 8 to 14.5 hours) for the simultaneous bilateral reconstruction. Total flap necrosis occurred in two cases (one deep inferior epigastric perforator flap and one superior gluteal artery perforator flap). Partial flap necrosis was not encountered, and fat necrosis was found in one deep inferior epigastric perforator flap (1 percent). Two pulmonary infections, one deep vein thrombosis, and one cardiac arrhythmia occurred as postoperative complications. The mean hospital stay was 9 days (range, 6 to 20 days). Abdominal bulging was reported in one patient. There were no recurrent disease or cancer manifestations, with an average follow-up of 3.5 years. This series clearly shows that perforator flaps are reliable and useful tools for bilateral breast reconstruction. This technique decreases the donor-site morbidity and offers an excellent aesthetic and long-term outcome and high patient satisfaction.
From the Plastic Surgery Department, Gent University Hospital.
Received for publication April 7, 2003; revised July 11, 2003.
Presented at the 13th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Plastic Surgeons, in Creta, Greece, May 30 to June 1, 2002, and at the 17th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery, in Kauai, Hawaii, January 11 to 14, 2003.
Moustapha Hamdi, M.D., Plastic Surgery Department, Gent University Hospital, De Pintelaan 185, B-9000 Gent, Belgium firstname.lastname@example.org