Comparing Donor Site Morbidity for Autologous Breast Reconstruction: Thigh vs. Abdomen

Z. Hye Lee, Carrie K. Chu, Malke Asaad, Jessie Liu, Jesse C. Selber, Charles E. Butler, Rene D. Largo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


UNLABELLED: Although abdominally-based free flaps have long been the gold standard, the profunda artery perforator (PAP) flap has emerged as an important alternative option for autologous breast reconstruction. The aim of this study was to directly compare the donor site morbidity of using the PAP versus deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) free flap.

METHODS: We performed a retrospective review of patients undergoing autologous breast reconstruction using a DIEP and/or PAP flap from January 2017 to December 2020. In total, 30 PAP flap patients were matched with 60 DIEP flap patients. Outcomes included donor site wound dehiscence, length of stay, narcotic consumption, and pain scores. Patient-reported outcomes for the thigh versus abdomen were compared using questions derived from the BREAST-Q.

RESULTS: There was no significant difference in length of stay ( P = 0.182), reoperation rates ( P = 0.999), flap failure rates ( P = 0.999), or donor site complications ( P = 0.999). Both groups had similar mean pain scores, maximum pain scores, daily and total narcotic requirements. In comparing the thigh or abdomen as a donor site, there was no difference in frequency of negative symptoms (difficulty with daily activities, discomfort, tightness, and negative impact on ability to work) or satisfaction scores as related to their appearance in and out of clothing and the appearance of the scar.

CONCLUSIONS: The thigh and abdomen are both suitable donor sites for autologous breast reconstruction with similar flap-related and patient-reported outcomes. The ultimate decision regarding whether to use a PAP or DIEP flap for breast reconstruction should be tailored based on patient anatomy and preference.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E4215
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery - Global Open
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 24 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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