Improving the assessment and outcome of free tissue transfer breast reconstruction

Gilmour, Adam (2016) Improving the assessment and outcome of free tissue transfer breast reconstruction. MD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Introduction: Free tissue transfer using an abdominal tissue flap is a commonly used method of breast reconstruction. However, there are well recognised complications including venous congestion, fat necrosis and flap loss associated with the perfusion of these flaps. Post-operative aesthetic outcome assessment of such breast reconstructions have also proven to be difficult with current methods displaying poor inter-rater reliability and patient correlation. The aim of this research was to investigate potential improvements to the post-operative outcome of free abdominal tissue transfer breast reconstruction by assessing the effects of vascular augmentation interventions on flap perfusion and to assess the use of real-time digital video as a post-operative assessment tool.

Methods: An in-vivo pilot study carried out on 12 patients undergoing DIEP flap breast reconstruction assessed the effect on Zone IV perfusion, using LDI and ICG angiography, of vascular augmentation of the flap using the contralateral SIEA and SIEV. A further animal experimental study was carried out on 12 Sprague Dawley rats to assess the effects on main pedicle arterial blood flow and on Zone I and Zone IV perfusion of vascular augmentation of the abdominal flap using the contralateral vascular system. A separate post-operative assessment study was undertaken on 35 breast reconstruction patients who evaluated their own reconstructions via patient questionnaire and underwent photograph and real-time digital video capture of their reconstructions with subsequent panel assessment.

Results: Our results showed that combined vascular augmentation of DIEP flaps, using both the SIEA and SIEV together, led to an increase in Zone IV perfusion. Vascular augmentation of the rat abdominal flaps also led to a significant increase in Zone I/IV perfusion, but the augmentation procedure resulted in a decreased main pedicle arterial blood flow. Our post-operative assessment study revealed that real-time digital video footage led to greater inter-rater agreement with regards to cosmesis and shape than photography and also correlated more with patient self-assessment.

Conclusion: Vascular augmentation of abdominal free tissue flaps using the contralateral vascular system results in an increase to Zone IV perfusion, however this may lead to decreased main pedicle arterial blood flow. Real-time digital video is a valid post-operative aesthetic assessment method of breast reconstruction outcome and is superior to static photography when coupled with panel assessment.

Item Type: Thesis (MD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Supported by grant awards from: Aileen Lynn Bequest Fund Research Grant ; Stephen Plumpton Research Grant ; Canniesburn Plastic Surgery Research Trust Grant.
Keywords: DIEP, free flap, free tissue transfer, flap perfusion, Zone IV, breast reconstruction.
Subjects: R Medicine > RD Surgery
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing
Supervisor's Name: Mackay, Mr. I.R. and Horgan, Prof. P.G.
Date of Award: 2016
Depositing User: Mr Adam Gilmour
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-7458
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2016 15:09
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2016 13:16

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