Send to

Choose Destination
Arch Plast Surg. 2012 May;39(3):216-21. doi: 10.5999/aps.2012.39.3.216. Epub 2012 May 10.

Recipient vessel selection in immediate breast reconstruction with free abdominal tissue transfer after nipple-sparing mastectomy.

Author information

Department of Plastic Surgery, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.



Nipple-sparing mastectomy (NSM) is gaining popularity due to its superior aesthetic results. When reconstructing the breast with free abdominal tissue transfer, we must readdress the recipient vessel, because NSM can cause difficulty in access to the chest vessel.


Between June 2006 and March 2011, a total of 92 women underwent NSM with free abdominal tissue transfer. A lateral oblique incision was used for the nipple-sparing mastectomy. For recipient vessels, the internal mammary vessels were chosen if the mastectomy flap did not block access to the vessels. If it did, the thoracodorsal vessels were used. Age, degree of breast ptosis, weight of the mastectomy specimen, and related complications of the internal mammary vessel group and the thoracodorsal vessel group were compared.


Thoracodorsal vessels were used as recipient vessels in 59 cases, and internal mammary vessels in 33 cases including 4 cases with perforators of the internal mammary vessels. Breast reconstruction was successful in all cases except one case involving a total flap failure, which was replaced by a silicone gel implant. The internal mammary group and the thoracodorsal group were similar in terms of age, height, breast weight, and degree of ptosis. The flap related complications such as flap loss and take-back operation rates were not significantly different between the two groups. The rate of nipple necrosis was higher in the internal mammary group.


The thoracodorsal vessels could produce comparable outcomes in breast reconstruction after nipple-sparing mastectomies. If access to internal mammary vessels is difficult, the thoracodorsal vessel can be a better choice.


Free tissue flaps; Mammaplasty; Mastectomy

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Publishing M2Community Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center