Revisiting the Abdominal Donor Site: Introducing a Novel Nomenclature for Autologous Breast Reconstruction

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As abdominally based free flaps for breast reconstruction continue to evolve, significant effort has been invested in minimizing donor-site morbidity. The impact on the donor site remains a prevailing principle for breast reconstruction, and thus must be adequately reflected when classifying what is left behind following flap harvest. Although successful in describing the type of flap harvested, the existing nomenclature falls short of incorporating certain critical variables, such as degree of muscular preservation, fascial involvement, mesh implantation, and segmental nerve anatomy.


In an effort to expand on Nahabedian’s 2002 classification system, this descriptive study revisits and critically reviews the existing donor-site classification system following abdominally based breast reconstruction.


The authors propose a nomenclature system that emphasizes variability in flap harvest technique, degree of muscular violation, fascial resection, mesh implantation, and degree of nerve transection.


With this revised classification system, reconstructive surgeons can begin reporting more clinically relevant and accurate information with regard to donor-site morbidity.

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