Immediate Breast Reconstruction Using the Autologous Dermal Flap

J Surg Res. 2023 Mar;283:713-718. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2022.11.002. Epub 2022 Nov 30.


Introduction: Despite the development of breast-conserving surgery in breast cancer treatment, there still remain indications for total mastectomy. Since mastectomy has a significant negative impact on the patients' quality of life, breast reconstruction is increasingly popular. However, for patients with large ptotic breasts who do not choose tissue-based reconstruction techniques and prefer implant-based breast reconstruction, there is no single-stage breast reconstruction technique other than the classic technique using Acellular Dermal Matrix (ADM).

Methods: This study presents a novel technique for Nipple-Sparing Mastectomy (NSM) and Immediate Breast reconstruction (IBR) in 11 operations (in seven patients) whose treatment decision-making was based on NCCN guidelines. In this technique, the implant/tissue expander is covered by the pectoral muscle in the upper part and an autologous dermal flap in the lower part, replacing an ADM. The dermal flap is created from the de-epithelialized lower mastectomy flap in these large ptotic breasts. Maintaining the nipple-areola complex (NAC) is possible by re-implanting a free nipple split-thickness graft from the NAC of the ipsilateral breast prepared at the beginning of the operation.

Results: All seven patients had large ptotic breasts ranging from C cup to double D in size and grade 2 and higher breast ptosis. The mean BMI of the patients was 28 (range: 26-33). No major complications occurred postoperatively. There were three minor complications, all managed conservatively. Surgical indications were risk reduction surgery in three patients with BRCA mutations and therapeutic in the remaining patients (three multifocal invasive ductal carcinomas and one diffused ductal carcinoma in situ). None of the patients had a previous reduction mammoplasty as preparation for NSM, and all the patients underwent a single operation. No breast tissue remained under the NAC, which is ideal with the NSM technique.

Conclusions: The proposed technique is excellent for implant-based IBR in patients with large ptotic breasts. It eliminates the use of ADM mesh and reduces the cost and postoperative complication rate associated with ADM. Furthermore, using a free nipple graft technique can eliminate the need for a preparatory mastopexy. This technique can also theoretically reduce the risk of recurrence or new primary breast cancer as there are no remaining ducts beneath the nipple-areola complex.

Keywords: Autologous dermal flap; Immediate breast reconstruction; Nipple-sparing mastectomy.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammaplasty* / methods
  • Mastectomy / methods
  • Nipples / pathology
  • Nipples / surgery
  • Quality of Life
  • Retrospective Studies