The Versatile Extended Thoracodorsal Artery Perforator Flap for Breast Reconstruction

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The thoracodorsal artery perforator (TAP) flap is a versatile tool that can be used to reconstruct the breast. The authors use preoperative perforator mapping using color Doppler ultrasonography and present a safe, efficient harvesting technique to demonstrate reliable use of the TAP flap in reconstructive surgery.


A multicenter, retrospective review was performed on all patients undergoing TAP flap reconstruction from August 2011 to November 2014. Data were collected from patient records as well as outpatient interviews.


A total of 106 TAP flaps were performed in 97 patients. The flaps were raised with either 1 perforator (42/106), 2 perforators (55/106), or three perforators (9/106), and turned as a propeller in 99 of 106 (93%) flaps or buried as a turnover in 7 of 106 (7%) of flaps. The mean operative time was 200 minutes (range, 60–485). Major complications occurred in 10 of 106 (10%) cases and included hematoma (1/108), venous congestion (2/108), and partial flap necrosis (7/108). The reconstructive goal was achieved in 103 of 106 (97%) flaps.


The TAP flap is a pedicled, fasciocutaneous flap that can be used for total breast reconstruction as well as breast conserving surgery. This large, multicenter series describes our techniques of preoperative perforator mapping and a fast, reliable harvest. Reconstructive goals are accomplished in the great majority of patients.

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