Introduction: Suction-assisted lipectomy (SAL) has been considered a relative contraindication for autologous breast reconstruction due to reservations about size and integrity of perforator vessels. Such patients are often not considered ideal candidates for breast reconstruction utilizing deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) and superficial inferior epigastric artery (SIEA) flaps. The aim of this article is to describe our experience with these flaps after SAL. Methods: Retrospectively, patient charts from 2005 to 2015 were analyzed and 9 patients (13 flaps) were identified who received breast reconstruction after prior donor-site SAL. Eight patients underwent DIEP and 1 patient an SIEA flap breast reconstruction. The patients' average age was 47.7 (ranging 33-64) years and their BMI 26.0 (ranging 21.1-36.5). Preoperative radiologic studies were obtained for all patients via either Doppler ultrasound or cross-sectional imaging to assess abdominal perforators. Abdominal SAL took place between 2 and 20 years before reconstruction. Results: On average, 2.4 (ranging 1-4) perforators with a mean diameter of 0.68 mm (ranging 0.2-2.5 mm) were included per DIEP flap and anastomosed to the internal mammary arteries. Median follow-up period was 1.2 (ranging 0.5-9.6) years without any flap loss, flap necrosis, hematoma, or unplanned reoperation. One breast seroma and one fat necrosis occurred. All patients had a successful reconstruction and finished treatment at our institution. Conclusion: Our results show that DIEP and SIEA flaps are safe and effective options for breast reconstruction in patients with previous abdominal SAL. Extensive preoperative patient evaluation and perforator imaging is important in identifying suitable candidates within this patient population.
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