One key component of a successful autologous breast reconstruction is insetting the flap to accurately resemble an aesthetic breast. The authors describe a novel technique used to shape a deep inferior epigastric artery perforator flap into a coned breast mound before introducing it into the breast pocket. With the flap perfusing on the chest wall, an area of skin estimating the size and location of the skin paddle is marked. The skin to be buried is then deepithelialized.
Once hemostasis is ensured, the shaping is performed. Two 2-0 polydioxanone sutures are anchored in the Scarpa fascia at the 10- and 2-o’clock positions and then run at the level of the Scarpa fascia to the 6-o’clock position. The two sutures are then cinched together to achieve the desired shape and then tied. The flap is then placed in the breast pocket and secured into place at the inferomedial and inferolateral corners, and at its cranial aspect. The size of the skin paddle can then be finalized.
In the authors’ series of 21 breast reconstructions in 11 patients using flap preshaping, they have not seen any compromise in flap perfusion, with one patient showing a small area of secondary fat necrosis. In addition, the flaps maintained their aesthetic breast shape throughout follow-up.
The authors believe this technique for shaping inferior epigastric artery perforator flaps before inset into the breast pocket to be both safe and predictable, simplifying one of the more tedious aspects of autologous breast reconstruction.