New scarless flap technique for breast reconstruction

June 27, 2014

There is a new technique for breast reconstruction that allows women to have a shorter recovery time and lower complication rate. A report in the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery – Global Open suggests that a scarless flap may be the better alternative to the traditional flap.

 

The scarless flap was developed by Australian plastic surgeons as a safer alternative to the original technique used for women undergoing breast reconstruction after mastectomy. Some women undergo a prophylactic mastectomy to reduce their risk of procuring breast cancer. The new scarless flap works especially well for these women.

 

Dr. Mark A. Lee of St John of God Hospital, Subiaco was the main surgeon in this study. From 2009 to 2012, 30 breast reconstructions on 20 women were performed using the scarless flap. The surgeon uses the latissimus dorsi muscle (largest back muscle) for the breast reconstructive surgery. There is no need for additional incisions using this method. The new flap technique is not literally scarless, but it does decrease the likelihood of scars from occurring.

Dr. Lee reported that operative time was about one hour shorter. The scarless reconstruction also allowed for quicker recovery time. Women left the hospital about one day earlier. The complication rate was about one-fourth lower for these patients.

 

In the study, 75 percent of women rated the aesthetic quality of their breast reconstruction. Women rated either good or excellent. Women also participated in the Breast-Q survey. This produced similar results. This survey assesses various aspects of quality of life after breast reconstruction. The survey also revealed that aesthetically the scarless flap had better pleasing results.

Acellular dermal matrix may provide another alternative for women undergoing breast reconstruction. This allows for better oncological control while preserving more of the patient’s own breast tissue. This has become increasingly popular for women undergoing a mastectomy with immediate reconstruction.

 

Using the biomaterial avoids the need for a skin flap altogether. However, because this is a new, innovative procedure, there is a lot of risk and the cost is much higher. The Acellular dermal matrix is not performed everywhere. Plastic surgeons have to undergo specific training to perform this procedure. Not many are capable of it, so it may be hard to find a surgeon.

 

Because it may be hard to find a good surgeon to perform an Acellular dermal matrix procedure, Dr. Lee suggests women to undergo the scarless flap procedure. It is also new and innovative, but more surgeons are capable of performing this type of procedure.

 

More women every day are undergoing a mastectomy with immediate reconstruction in order to prevent breast cancer from forming. This technique is the best option for these type of breast reconstructive patients.

 

If you are suffering from breast cancer or have a high genetic predisposition to it, you may want to consider getting a mastectomy with immediate breast reconstruction. Dr. Franks is a board certified plastic surgeon that has performed many breast reconstructions in his career. For more information about this Des Moines plastic surgeon, contact 515.421.4299.

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