Check the Record: Remote CT Scans for Breast Flap Perforator Mapping

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BackgroundPerforator mapping with computed tomography angiography (CTA) prior to autologous breast reconstruction reduces donor-site morbidity and operative time, but is costly. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether pre-existing CT scans could be used for dominant perforator identification before autologous reconstruction.MethodsWe identified all female patients who underwent mastectomy with immediate or delayed breast reconstruction with abdominal free flaps at a single institution between 2006 and 2016. Medical records were reviewed to identify patients with pre-existing CT scans of the abdomen/pelvis. CT images were reviewed by the senior surgeon and ranked on a 1 to 3 scale to indicate utility for preoperative planning. An analysis was performed to assess financial savings and radiation avoidance associated with the use of pre-existing scans.ResultsOf 301 identified patients, 44.9% (n = 135) had an available pre-existing CT. A dominant perforator was identified on 92.6% of scans. A higher proportion of dominant perforators was identified using positron emission tomography (PET)/CT scans compared with CT scans with intravenous (IV) contrast and noncontrast CTs (p < 0.0001) . Compared with PET/CTs and CTs with IV contrast, the average utility score for noncontrast CTs was lower (p = 0.0001). Dominant perforators were clearly identified in patients who had both a remote CT scan and a preoperative CTA. Perforator mapping using remote CT scans yielded a projected radiation reduction of 13.2 mGy per patient and yielded a projected annual U.S. health care savings of $28,459,638.ConclusionOur study suggests that pre-existing CT scans represent a viable and economical alternative for perforator mapping before abdominal-based free flap breast reconstruction.

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