Upper limb lymphoedema and associated radiation-damaged chest wall are complications occurring after breast cancer treatment. Previous anatomical and clinical studies have demonstrated the usefulness of inguinal lymph node autotransplantation in managing lymphoedema. The present anatomical study is a complement to previous studies about the cutaneous inguinal flap. It has demonstrated the feasibility of using a free inguinal cutaneo-lymph node flap supplied by the superficial circumflex iliac artery. The useful vascularized abdominal skin area ranged from 176 to 288 cm2 and was contained within a vascularized skin area extending up to 928 cm2. However, the vascularization never extended widely beyond the abdominal midline line. Although it mainly remains unilateral, this flap combining skin and lymph nodes may help in the management of lymphoedema and chest wall damage when they occur simultaneously as complications of breast cancer treatment. The French version of this article is available in the form of electronic supplementary material and can be obtained by using the Springer LINK server located at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00276-002-0024-7.