Breast reconstruction with the deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flap can be associated with complications such as fat necrosis. The authors’ objective was to assess the safety and efficacy of fluorescent angiography with indocyanine green to reduce fat necrosis.
The authors designed a parallel, randomized, controlled clinical trial for unilateral breast reconstruction. The poorly vascularized tissues of the DIEP flap were removed based on a clinical evaluation in group 1 and based on angiographic criteria in group 2. The authors recorded the flap dimensions, perfusion in terms of fluorescence intensity, complications, reoperations, and BREAST-Q questionnaire scores for both groups.
The study included a total of 51 patients. The flaps showed no size differences after the tissue was excised. The flaps of group 2 presented higher perfusion rates (p
= 0.001). The incidence of fat necrosis was 59.3 percent in group 1 and 8.3 percent in group 2 (p
= 0.001). Four cases of partial necrosis were recorded in group 1 (18.2 percent) compared with none in group 2 (0 percent) (p
= 0.131). Four patients underwent reoperation in group 1 (14.8 percent) compared with none in group 2 (0 percent) (p
= 0.113). The patients in group 2 reported higher scores in all domains of the BREAST-Q.
Fluorescent angiography with indocyanine green significantly reduced the incidence of fat necrosis without diminishing the flaps’ dimensions. The perfusion rates were significantly higher and the patients reported significantly greater satisfaction and quality of life. Fluorescent angiography with indocyanine green may be considered a safe and effective tool to enhance the outcomes of breast reconstruction with the DIEP flap.
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