Optimizing Aesthetic Outcomes in Delayed Breast Reconstruction

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Abstract

Background:

The need to restore both the missing breast volume and breast surface area makes achieving excellent aesthetic outcomes in delayed breast reconstruction especially challenging. Autologous breast reconstruction can be used to achieve both goals. The aim of this study was to identify surgical maneuvers that can optimize aesthetic outcomes in delayed breast reconstruction.

Methods:

This is a retrospective review of operative and clinical records of all patients who underwent unilateral or bilateral delayed breast reconstruction with autologous tissue between April 2014 and January 2017. Three groups of delayed breast reconstruction patients were identified based on patient characteristics.

Results:

A total of 26 flaps were successfully performed in 17 patients. Key surgical maneuvers for achieving aesthetically optimal results were identified. A statistically significant difference for volume requirements was identified in cases where a delayed breast reconstruction and a contralateral immediate breast reconstruction were performed simultaneously.

Conclusions:

Optimal aesthetic results can be achieved with: (1) restoration of breast skin envelope with tissue expansion when possible, (2) optimal positioning of a small skin paddle to be later incorporated entirely into a nipple areola reconstruction when adequate breast skin surface area is present, (3) limiting the reconstructed breast mound to 2 skin tones when large area skin resurfacing is required, (4) increasing breast volume by deepithelializing, not discarding, the inferior mastectomy flap skin, (5) eccentric division of abdominal flaps when an immediate and delayed bilateral breast reconstructions are performed simultaneously; and (6) performing second-stage breast reconstruction revisions and fat grafting.

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