Silicone implants are often used in immediate breast reconstruction. Complications associated with silicone-based implant reconstruction, such as capsular contracture, implant palpability, and visibility, are best avoided by placing the implant under a reliable soft-tissue cover such as the pectoralis major muscle. This muscle, however, is not always sufficient for complete coverage of the silicone implant. This is especially true for large implants. By including the fascia of the upper abdominal muscles in the reconstruction, this problem can be overcome. We describe our experience with one-stage breast reconstruction utilizing the fascia of the upper abdominal muscles to provide adequate soft-tissue coverage of the implant.
This technique was used in the reconstructions of ten patients over 4 years (2005-2009). This method was selected by the operating surgeon at the time of surgery if the pectoralis major muscle was felt to be of inadequate size to provide adequate implant coverage. The pectoralis major muscle was released from its sternal and caudal attachments to the chest wall. The rectus abdominis fascia and external oblique fascia were elevated as a combined cephalic-based flap. This fascial flap was advanced cranially and sutured to the released pectoralis major muscle after insertion of the implant.
The mean size of the silicone implant was 448.2 cc and mean follow-up was 19.7 months. All implants were adequately covered with soft tissue at the end of each case. Complications included one patient with a hematoma, one patient with skin necrosis at the suture line, and one patient with an implant infection necessitating removal.
There are many ways to provide soft-tissue coverage of silicone breast implants in breast reconstruction. These include acellular dermis slings, polyglycolic mesh, deepithelialized skin, and muscle. The ideal soft-tissue cover would be supple, easily harvested, of minimal morbidity, of minimal cost, and preferably autologous. We feel that the technique described here has these qualities and allows for complete coverage of silicone implants. An additional benefit of this technique is that it helps to increase the definition of the inframammary sulcus. This method is a good alternative in providing implant coverage during breast reconstruction, especially when there is a large implant or small pectoralis major muscle.
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We thank Dr. Ryan Katz for his very valuable contributions to the article.
An erratum to this article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00266-009-9420-2
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Isken, T., Onyedi, M., Izmirli, H. et al. Abdominal Fascial Flaps for Providing Total Implant Coverage in One-Stage Breast Reconstruction: An Autologous Solution. Aesth Plast Surg 33, 853–858 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00266-009-9384-2
- Autologous breast reconstruction
- Pectoralis major
- External oblique