If you’ve had breast cancer and are considering reconstruction surgery, it’s possible that one of the options you may be looking into is flap reconstruction surgery.
Breast reconstruction utilizing “flap” techniques are procedures where body tissue is used to reconstruct the shape of your breast after surgery. While it’s a relatively common type of reconstructive surgery these days, we feel it’s important that you should learn as much as possible about the benefits and risks, and discuss them with your doctor before you have the procedure.
That’s why we at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction are always looking for better ways to educate and inform our patients before a decision.
One way we ensure our patients have access to the latest in medicine and medical technology is to have our surgeons and staff constantly learning, researching, and writing about their findings.
In fact, some of our latest research on reconstructive flap surgery was recently submitted to the American Association of Plastic Surgeons by our Dr. Kline. This specific abstract documented the success rate of our reconstructive flap surgeries with regard to the role of autogenous microvascular breast reconstruction in the community.
Check it out…
PURPOSE: To present the continuing role of autogenous microvascular breast reconstruction in the community
METHODS: 1393 free perforator flaps for breast reconstruction were performed by two surgeons from October, 2003 to October, 2016. All flaps were performed in two community hospitals. Types of flaps included DIEP unilateral (122 flaps), DIEP simultaneous bilateral (866 flaps), DIEP bipedicle (106 flaps), sGAP unilateral (55 flaps), sGAP simultaneous bilateral (202 flaps), iGAP unilateral (2 flaps), iGAP simultaneous bilateral (18 flaps), PAP unilateral (5 flaps), PAP bilateral (10 flaps), SIEA unilateral (3 flaps), SIEA simultaneous bilateral (2 flaps), and TFL perforator (1 flap). The series includes a large number of both immediate and delayed reconstructions, prior failed reconstructions, and patients with a history of radiation.
RESULTS: Overall flap survival rate was 98.2%. DIEP survival rate was 99.1%. sGAP survival rate was 95.7%. No primary unilateral flaps were lost, and no bilateral losses occurred. Including those patients whose initial flaps failed, 99% of patients were ultimately successfully reconstructed with autogenous tissue.
CONCLUSION: Implant-based reconstruction is an appropriate initial choice for many patients, but autogenous microsurgical reconstruction still remains an excellent option, whether as an initial choice, or for patients with a prior history of failed reconstruction. With proper preparation and institutional support, perforator flap breast reconstruction can be performed with a high degree of success in a community hospital setting.
On top of the abstract, our physicians—Richard M. Kline Jr., M.D. and James E. Craigie MD—also wrote the chapter on GAP (buttock) flaps for the book Perforator Flaps for Breast Reconstruction.
As we mentioned earlier, we are passionate about continuing to learn, receive training, and interact with the scientific community to ensure we provide our patients with the safest, most advanced care.
And, while we’re doing our job to make sure we’re properly training our staff and staying up-to-date with the latest in medical technology, there’s one thing we encourage you to do as well—always ask for medical procedure stats.
Much like the abstract we provided above, your doctor should be able to provide you with stats on the procedures he or she conducts.
When patients come to us and ask questions on success rates, we can happily tell them the different percentage rates of success for the various procedures we provide. Equipping our patients with this information empowers them to make wise, educated decisions about their own health.
So, please, before you move ahead with a specific procedure, ask your doctor for the stats. If they have a high success rate with their surgeries, then you’re in the right place. If they don’t, it’s time for you to find another doctor.
We wish you the best as you move forward with any new procedure you may need!
Did you find the book chapter insightful? Let us know what you learned and what you thought was helpful to know in the comments below!