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Ann Chir Plast Esthet. 2011 Dec;56(6):548-54. doi: 10.1016/j.anplas.2011.09.008. Epub 2011 Oct 29.

[Breast reconstruction with TRAM flap after selective embolization of the deep inferior epigastric artery (series of 69 patients)].

[Article in French]

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Vascular complications of the unipedicled TRAM flap pointed out the need for solutions to decrease such occurrences. The flap surgical delay before transfer has been advocated to improve the blood supply but, at the same time, it increases the risk of wound infection at the donor site and imposes a general anesthesia. The DIEP and the free TRAM flap are more complex procedures and need heavy structural resources. Preferential use of the ipsilateral muscular pedicle suggests a lower partial flap necrosis rate. Selective embolization of the deep inferior epigastric arteries prior to surgery realizes an alternative delay and brings a decrease in the vascular complication rate as shown in a study of 40 patients by Scheufler in 2000. We present a series of 69 patients who were reconstructed by means of a delayed pedicled TRAM flap with selective embolization and a predominant use of the ispsilateral pedicle. Sonographic studies performed in 48 patients prior to surgery showed no significative difference in the diameter of the superior epigastic arteries, with or without previous radiotherapy. The mean interval between embolization and surgery was 30 days; the embolization was performed bilateraly in five patients (4 %), and unilaterally in 64 patients (96 %). The mean age of patients was 54 years, radiotherapy was applied in 43 patients (62 %), smoking patients: 11 (16 %), obesity: five (7 %). The ispsilateral pedicled was used in 67 patients (97 %), controlateral pedicle in two patients (3 %). Postoperative flap complications were comprised of partial flap necrosis in two cases (2,9 %), fat necrosis in six cases (8,7 %), impaired wound healing in three cases (4,3 %), abdominal wall weakness in two cases (2,9 %). We compared the present study of ispsilateral delayed pedicled flap to a study from the same authors concerning controlateral pedicled flaps without delay. It has been demonstrated that the complications rate of partial necrosis was divided by four in the first study compared to the second. The preoperative selective embolization of the deep inferior epigastric artery in association with the use of ipsilateral pedicule in TRAM flap decrease the complications rate significatively compared to the controlateral pedicled flap in TRAM flaps.

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