Perioperative Optimization of Autologous Breast Reconstruction

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Abstract

Summary:

The authors recently showed that fast-track surgery could reduce the length of stay after a deep inferior epigastric perforator flap procedure from 7.4 days to 6.2 days without increasing complication rates or flap loss. This study improves the protocol and identifies specific factors that kept patients in the hospital. The authors present their results from the first 16 consecutive cases. Multimodal opioid-sparing analgesia was used. Nurses removed suction drains, without consulting the doctors. Fulfilment of functional discharge criteria (e.g., flap monitoring, ambulation) was assessed twice daily, and specified reasons for not allowing discharge were registered. All patients were discharged to home after approximately 72 hours, on the third postoperative day, except one patient who was discharged on day 4. Drains were removed on postoperative day 2 (n = 3) or 3 (n = 13). All patients had normal gastrointestinal tract function and minimal pain, and were eating and managing personal hygiene on the morning of postoperative day 2. All were mobilized by the afternoon of postoperative day 2. Median visual analogue scale score at discharge was 1 (range, 0 to 4). There were no reoperations and no major complications. Length of stay after autologous breast reconstruction using deep inferior epigastric perforator flaps can be reduced to approximately 3 days using the fast-track methodology.

CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

Therapeutic, IV.

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