SIEA Flap Reconstruction Austin
The main difference between the SIEA (Superficial Inferior Epigastric Artery) flap and the DIEP flap is the artery used to supply blood flow to the new breast. The SIEA blood vessels are found in the fatty tissue just below skin whereas the DIEP blood vessels run below and within the abdominal muscle (making the surgery more technically challenging). While the surgical preparation is slightly different, both procedures spare the abdominal muscle and only use the patient’s skin and fat to reconstruct the breast.
Though the SIEA is similar to the DIEP, it is used less frequently since the arteries required are generally too small to sustain the flap in most patients. Less than 20% of patients have the anatomy required to allow this procedure. Unfortunately, there are no reliable pre-operative tests to show which patients have the appropriate anatomy. The decision as to which type of reconstruction to perform is therefore made intra-operatively by the plastic surgeon based on the patient’s anatomy.