Mastectomy skin flap necrosis (MSFN) and partial DIEP (deep inferior epigastric artery perforator) flap loss represent two frequently reported complications in immediate autologous breast reconstruction. These complications could be prevented when areas of insufficient tissue perfusion are detected intraoperatively. Hyperspectral imaging (HSI) is a relatively novel, non-invasive imaging technique, which could be used to objectively assess tissue perfusion through analysis of tissue oxygenation patterns (StO2%), near-infrared (NIR%), tissue hemoglobin (THI%), and tissue water (TWI%) perfusion indices. This prospective clinical pilot study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of HSI for tissue perfusion assessment and to identify a cut-off value for flap necrosis. Ten patients with a mean age of 55.4 years underwent immediate unilateral autologous breast reconstruction. Prior, during and up to 72 h after surgery, a total of 19 hyperspectral images per patient were acquired. MSFN was observed in 3 out of 10 patients. No DIEP flap necrosis was observed. In all MSFN cases, an increased THI% and decreased StO2%, NIR%, and TWI% were observed when compared to the vital group. StO2% was found to be the most sensitive parameter to detect MSFN with a statistically significant lower mean StO2% (51% in the vital group versus 32% in the necrosis group, p < 0.0001) and a cut-off value of 36.29% for flap necrosis. HSI has the potential to accurately assess mastectomy skin flap perfusion and discriminate between vital and necrotic skin flap during the early postoperative period prior to clinical observation. Although the results should be confirmed in future studies, including DIEP flap necrosis specifically, these findings suggest that HSI can aid clinicians in postoperative mastectomy skin flap and DIEP flap monitoring.
Breast conserving surgery (BCS) has been a standard procedure for the treatment of breast cancer instead of mastectomy whenever possible. Lateral chest wall perforator flaps are one of the volume replacement techniques that participate in increasing the rate of BCS especially in small- to moderate-sized breasts with good cosmetic outcome. In this study, we tried to evaluate the outcome of those flaps as an oncoplastic procedure instead of the conventional flaps.
This study included 26 patients who underwent partial mastectomy with immediate reconstruction using lateral chest wall perforator flaps in the period from October 2019 to November 2020. The operative time, techniques, and complications were recorded. The cosmetic outcome was assessed 3 months post-radiation therapy through a questionnaire and photographic assessment.
Lateral intercostal artery perforator (LICAP), lateral thoracic artery perforator (LTAP) and combined flaps were performed in 24, 1, and 1 patients, respectively. The mean operative time was 129.6 ± 13.2 min. The flap length ranged from 10 to 20 cm and its width from 5 to 9 cm. Overall patients’ satisfaction was observed to be 88.5% as either excellent or good and the photographic assessment was 96.2% as either excellent or good.
Lateral chest wall perforator flaps are reliable and safe option for partial breast reconstruction with an acceptable aesthetic outcome. In the era of oncoplastic breast surgery, they deserve to gain attention especially with the advantages of some modifications added to the classic technique.
Analysing the results of breast reconstruction is important both in terms of oncological safety and health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Immediate breast reconstruction (IBR) is thought to be prone to complications and heavy for patients with no time to adapt to having cancer. Delayed reconstruction (DR) is an option after primary surgery and oncological treatments, but requires patients to go through two recovery periods after surgery.
A prospective study of 1065 breast cancer patients with repeated measurement of HRQoL with both generic (15D) and disease specific (EORTC QLQ C-30 BR23) measuring tools included 51 IBR patients and 41 DR patients. These patients’ HRQoL and reconstruction methods were studied in more detail alongside with clinical data to determine HRQoL levels for patients with IBR and those with mastectomy and DR during a 24-month follow-up. Measuring points were baseline, 3, 6, 12 and 24 months.
Most frequent techniques used were abdominal flaps (IBR n = 16, DR n = 14), latissimus dorsi flaps (LD) (IBR n = 19, DR n = 10), implants (IBR n = 12) and fat grafting (DR n = 6). Smaller groups were excluded from group comparisons. Approximately one third of the patients encountered complications. Symptom scores did not differ between reconstruction methods. DR patients had better overall HRQoL at 12 months, but at 24 months the situation had changed in favour of IBR. Both approaches of reconstructive surgery produced good HRQoL with no significant differences between the approaches studied.