A SIEA Flap procedure is similar to a DIEP Flap in that it uses fat and skin from the lower abdomen and does not require removal of any muscle. However, there
are two main differences. First, is the use of different vessels including the Superficial Inferior Epigastric Artery. Second, it does not require an incision through the abdominal muscle due to the superficial location of the vessels. The SIEA flap procedure also requires the use of an operating microscope (microsurgery) to connect blood vessels when the tissue is moved to the breast.
It is important to note that only a minority of patients are candidates for SIEA Flap (approximately 15%)i because the superficial vessels are very small thus limiting flap volume and increasing the risk of flap loss.
Click the images below to enlarge
Flap transfer during surgery
In addition to the potential advantages and disadvantages listed on the Autologous Breast Reconstruction page, other potential advantages and disadvantages of SIEA Flap are also outlined here.
Potential Advantages | Potential Disadvantages
- Results in the tightening of the lower abdomen – similar to a tummy tuck
- No abdominal muscle removed
- Little to no loss of abdominal strength compared to TRAM procedure
- Microsurgery requires extra time in surgery (up to 8 hours for the reconstruction of both breasts)
- May affect mobility and range of motion
- Complications associated with microsurgery may result in tissue not surviving when moved to the breast