Outcomes After Elevation of Serratus Anterior Fascia During Prosthetic Breast Reconstruction

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Achieving optimal inferolateral coverage is critical to successful prosthetic breast reconstruction. Serratus anterior fascia (SF) elevation, a promising alternative to muscle flaps and acellular dermis (ADM), has not been rigorously studied. This study evaluates complication rates after mastectomy and immediate tissue expander (TE) coverage using SF, relative to other existing methods of reconstruction.


Retrospective review of consecutive patients undergoing mastectomy with immediate TE reconstruction over 10 years at 1 institution was performed. Patients with serratus muscle (SM) or SF elevation were analyzed. ADM reconstructions were used for comparative analysis only. Relevant demographic and clinical data were recorded. Complications were categorized by type and end outcome, including nonoperative (no further surgery), operative (surgery except explantation), and explantation.


The SM and SF elevation was performed in 375 (487 breasts) and 177 (255 breasts) patients, respectively. Mean follow-up was 43.8 months. The SM and SF patients were demographically similar, but SF had higher intraoperative fill volumes (P < 0.0001) and required fewer postoperative expansions (P < 0.0001). There were no differences in complications between SM and SF patients. Regression analysis, adjusted for several variables, revealed that SF was not an independent risk factor for complications. The ADM- and SF-assisted reconstruction also showed no differences in outcomes.


Our review demonstrates that SF elevation is a safe, feasible alternative for achieving inferolateral coverage during prosthetic breast reconstruction. Furthermore, this technique allows for greater fill volumes and less expansions than SM. As a readily available alternative to muscle flaps and ADM, SF elevation should be considered integral to any prosthetic breast reconstruction algorithm.

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