Transverse Infraclavicular Approach to the Thoracoacromial Pedicle for Microsurgical Breast Reconstruction

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Abstract

Background

In microvascular breast reconstruction, the internal mammary and thoracodorsal vessels are commonly used recipients. However, these vessels are sometimes compromised or unavailable. We hypothesize that a transverse infraclavicular (TIC) incision may provide efficient and reliable exposure to perform free flap anastomosis to the thoracoacromial (TAC) vessels for breast reconstruction.

Methods

The authors present their results from a cadaveric feasibility study and a retrospective case series of 4 consecutive breast reconstruction patients in which the TIC-TAC approach was used.

Results

The cadaveric dissection demonstrated a 5.5-cm pedicle length and a 3.75-mm diameter on the left side. On the right, the pedicle measured 5 cm in length and 4 mm in diameter. The dissection time was 10 minutes on the left side and 13 minutes on the right side. Five free flap breast reconstructions were performed in 4 patients using the TIC approach to the TAC artery which served as the primary recipient. The average pedicle length was 6.25 cm with a diameter of 3.55 mm. The pedicle was isolated and delivered through the infraclavicular incision in an average of 16.3 minutes on the left (n = 2) and 12.6 minutes on the right (n = 3). There were no complications, such as flap compromise or reoperation.

Conclusions

The TIC-TAC approach is feasible for microvascular breast reconstruction and can be considered for use by microvascular breast surgeons.

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