Predictors of Reoperations in Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator Flap Breast Reconstruction

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The deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) procedure is regarded a safe option for autologous breast reconstruction. Reoperations, however, may occur, and there is no consensus in the literature regarding the risk factors. The aim of this study was to identify factors associated with reoperations in DIEP procedure.

Patients and Methods:

A retrospective study of consecutive patients undergoing DIEP breast reconstruction 2007 to 2014 was performed and included a review of 433 medical charts. Surgical outcome was defined as any unanticipated reoperation requiring return to the operating room. Multivariate regression analysis was utilized to identify predictors of reoperation. The following factors were considered: age, body mass index, comorbidity, childbearing history, previous abdominal surgery, adjuvant therapy, reconstruction laterality and timing, flap and perforator characteristics, and number and size of veins.


In total, 503 free flaps were performed in 433 patients, 363 (83.8%) unilateral and 70 (16.2%) bilateral procedures. Mean age was 51 years; 15.0% were obese; 13.4% had hypertension; 2.3% had diabetes; 42.6% received tamoxifen; 58.8% had preoperative radiotherapy; 45.6% had abdominal scars. Reoperation rate was 15.9% (80/503) and included flap failure, 2.0%; partial flap loss, 1.2%; arterial thrombosis, 2.0%; venous thrombosis, 0.8%; venous congestion, 1.2%; vein kinking, 0.6%. Other complications included bleeding, 2.2%; hematoma, 3.0%; fat necrosis, 2.8%, and infection, 0.2%. Factors negatively associated with reoperation were childbearing history (odds ratio [OR]: 3.18, P = 0.001) and dual venous drainage (OR: 1.91, P = 0.016); however, only childbearing remained significant in the multivariate analyses (OR: 4.56, P = 0.023).


The history of childbearing was found to be protective against reoperation. Number of venous anastomoses may also affect reoperation incidence, and dual venous drainage could be beneficial in nulliparous patients.

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