The number one cause of death in American women is heart disease. Studies have clearly shown the superiority of internal mammary artery (IMA) grafts for coronary revascularization over other conduits or intracoronary techniques. Our goal was to design an algorithm for recipient vessel selection in patients undergoing free tissue transfer breast reconstruction. A review of the literature was performed to identify potential evidence to contribute to a best-practice guideline. The lack of high-level evidence led us to create a guideline based on a workgroup consensus, expert opinion, cadaveric studies, and case reports. As we operate on older patient populations, the need for IMA use for coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) after autologous breast reconstruction may arise more frequently. We discuss the current literature regarding recipient vessel choices and level of recipient vessel harvest in free flap breast reconstruction to help continually evolve the practices of our specialty to the potential future needs of our patients. We also present a best-practice decision algorithm for vessel selection and harvest, as well as a sample case of CABG using the left IMA 35 days after previous autologous breast reconstruction using the left IMA. As the number of patients we operate on who may later require their IMA for CABG increases, so too must our understanding of the implications of our selection of recipient vessels for free autologous breast reconstruction.
- breast reconstruction
- coronary artery bypass grafting
- free tissue transfer
ASJC Scopus subject areas