The Lateral Thigh Perforator Flap for Autologous Breast Reconstruction: A Prospective Analysis of 138 Flaps

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Abstract

Background:

The septocutaneous tensor fasciae latae or lateral thigh perforator flap was previously introduced by the authors’ group as an alternative flap for autologous breast reconstruction when the abdomen is not suitable as a donor site. The authors analyzed their experience with the lateral thigh perforator flap and present the surgical refinements that were introduced.

Methods:

A prospective study was conducted of all lateral thigh perforator flap breast reconstructions performed since September of 2012. Patient demographics, operative details, complications, and flap reexplorations were recorded. Preoperative imaging with magnetic resonance angiography was performed in all patients. Surgical refinements introduced during this study included limitation of the flap width and the use of quilting sutures at the donor site.

Results:

A total of 138 lateral thigh perforator flap breast reconstructions were performed in 86 consecutive patients. Median operative times were 277 minutes (range, 196 to 561 minutes) for unilateral procedures and 451 minutes (range, 335 to 710 minutes) for bilateral. Median flap weight was 348 g (range, 175 to 814 g). Two total flap losses (1.4 percent) were recorded, and 11 flaps (8.0 percent) required reexploration, which resulted in viable flaps. The incidence of donor-site complications was reduced significantly after the surgical refinements were introduced. Wound problems decreased from 40.0 percent to 6.3 percent, seroma decreased from 25.0 percent to 9.5 percent, and infection decreased from 27.5 percent to 9.5 percent.

Conclusions:

The lateral thigh perforator flap is an excellent option for autologous breast reconstruction, with minimal recipient-site complications. The surgical refinements resulted in a significant reduction of donor-site complications. Therefore, the lateral thigh perforator flap is currently the authors’ second choice after the deep inferior epigastric artery perforator flap.

CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

Therapeutic, IV.

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