Classification schema for anatomic variations of the inferior epigastric vasculature evaluated by abdominal CT angiograms for breast reconstruction

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Background. Many studies demonstrate direct patient benefits from use of preoperative computed tomography angiograms (CTA) for abdominal tissue-based breast reconstruction. We present a novel classification schema to translate imaging results into further clinical relevance. Methods. Each hemiabdomen CTA was classified into a schema that addressed findings of expected anatomy, anatomy that necessitates a change in operative technique and anatomy that suggests less morbid procedures may be considered. Results. Eighty-six patients (172 hemiabdomens) were available for study. Of the reconstructions performed in this time period, 40 (47%) were bilateral and 46 (53%) unilateral. Based on perforator size and location, relative perimuscular anatomy, and continuity of vessels, five categories were defined: type I "Traditional" anatomy (n = 150, 87%), type II "Highly Favorable" anatomy (n = 11, 6.4%), type III "Altered-Superiorly Translocated" anatomy (n = 9, 5.2%), type IV "Superficial Dominant" anatomy (n = 26, 15%), and type V "Hostile" anatomy (n = 4, 2.3%). The additive total is greater than 100%, because vessels may fall into more than one category. Discussion. In providing the microsurgeon with a preoperative vascular map that has the potential to influence the preoperative, operative, and postoperative course, abdominal CTAs should be considered a worthy adjunct to the diagnostic armamentarium of the reconstructive surgeon. These classifications and their clinical impacts become even more important in centers performing increasing numbers of bilateral reconstructions. We believe that our simple schema can facilitate effective use of this powerful tool, aiding in overall care of the breast reconstruction patient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)593-602
Number of pages10
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 1 2010


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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