Unilateral Internal Mammary Recipient Vessels for Bilateral DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction

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Summary:The deep inferior epigastric perforator flap has become increasingly popular for breast reconstruction with the most common recipient vessels being the internal mammary artery and vein. In certain cases, however, these recipient vessels are inadequate due to an absent or diminutive vein. Moreover, patients at high risk for future coronary artery disease may sacrifice the best conduit for coronary revascularization if the internal mammary recipients are used. Alternative recipient vessels, including the thoracodorsal, thoracoacromial, external jugular, and cephalic vessels have significant limitations. In this report, we describe a novel technique using unilateral internal mammary recipient vessels for bilateral free flap breast reconstruction. Two cases are presented that represent distinct indications for this technique: (1) absence or inadequacy of unilateral recipient vessels and (2) preservation of the left internal mammary system for future bypass in patients at high risk for coronary artery disease.

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