Recent trends reflect greater numbers of women opting for mastectomy for invasive breast cancer. Breast reconstruction, either at the time of mastectomy or later, is increasingly an option patients prefer. Although many women opt for implants, reconstruction using autologous tissue offers several advantages including tissue that feels more natural and will age naturally with the patient. The deep inferior epigastric perforator flap has emerged as an alternative to the transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous flap and allows for preservation of the underlying abdominal muscle. As greater numbers of surgeons are able to offer this microvascular alternative, nurses will care for these postoperative patients in the intensive care unit and medical/surgical settings. This article reviews the evaluation of patients for deep inferior epigastric perforator reconstruction and the unique complexities of postoperative nursing care for these patients.
Laura Long, PhD, RN, is a nurse liaison with VNA Care Network in Worcester, MA. In addition, she teaches in the Academic Internship program at Holy Cross and the Health Care Administration program at Framingham State University.
Amy Israelian, MSN, ANP-BC, CPSN, is a nurse practitioner with the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA.
Address correspondence to Amy Israelian, MSN, ANP-BC, CPSN, Massachusetts General Hospital, WACC 435, 15 Parkman Street, Boston, MA 02114.
The authors report no conflicts of interest.
There were no grants supporting research in this article and no funding has been received for any work in this article.