DIEP Flap for Breast Reconstruction Using Epidural Anesthesia with the Patient Awake

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Abstract

Background:

Many articles have been published about breast reconstruction using the deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flap; however, few articles have been published in plastic/reconstructive surgery journals describing the difference between anesthetic techniques and recovery in microsurgical patients.

Methods:

We analyzed 16 patients who underwent DIEP flap for breast reconstruction. Patients were divided into 2 groups: group 1: general anesthesia (n = 9); group 2: epidural block with the patient awake (n = 7). In group 2, the peridural block was done at 2 levels: thoracic (T2–T3) and lumbar (L2–L3).

Results:

The success rate was 100% with no partial or total loss of the flap. There was no difference between groups in regard to postoperative pain in the first 5 days (Visual Analog Scale). Analgesia used in group 1 was buprenorphine and ketorolac, and in group 2, only ketorolac without opioid derivatives. Immediate postoperative recovery was better in the peridural group than in the group administered general anesthesia (P = 0.0001).

Conclusions:

DIEP flap with peridural block and the patient awake during surgery is a feasible technique with better recovery in the immediate postoperative period, achieving good analgesia level with minimal intravenous medication.

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