Subincisional muscular coverage of expander implants in immediate breast reconstruction with pectoralis flaps

Robert W. Bernard, Sean Boutros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Immediate breast reconstruction with expander implants is a safe, simple procedure that allows for a rapid physical and emotional postmastectomy recovery. When complications occur, the patient may be left with a prolonged reconstructive course. Such complications may result from thin mastectomy flaps and resulting marginal skin flap necrosis and implant exposure. Muscle coverage of the implant under the skin incision prevents such marginal necrosis of skin flap from becoming a factor in implant loss. This paper demonstrates a simple method for providing subincisional muscle coverage of expander implants with pectoralis muscle flaps. In this technique, a pocket is developed under the pectoralis muscle. The sternal origin of the pectoralis is released from the midsternal position to its inferior origin. The pectoralis muscle is then rotated inferior-laterally and sutured to the dermis of the underside of the inferior mastectomy skin flap, thereby providing subincisional muscle coverage of the expander implant. During a 5-year period, 42 patients between the ages of 36 and 61 underwent breast reconstruction utilizing this technique. In these patients, there were 4 instances of marginal necrosis. In each of these cases, the implants did not become exposed, and all patients completed the expansion process without significant delay and underwent subsequent implant exchange without incident. Five-year follow-up has shown good esthetic results in all patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)352-355
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of plastic surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2005


  • Breast reconstruction
  • Breast reconstruction expanders
  • Implant exposure
  • Marginal necrosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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