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BACKGROUND: Contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance angiography has been shown to be very accurate for identifying the perforator size, location, and intramuscular course, and the associated venous system, without exposing the patient to ionizing radiation. This study reports the authors' experience using this imaging modality in a large patient series. METHODS: A retrospective review of patients who had undergone preoperative contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance angiography followed by free abdominal flap breast reconstruction was conducted. The results of imaging were compared with intraoperative findings, and surgical outcomes were compared with scan data. The results were compared with control data in patients who did not undergo presurgical imaging. RESULTS: One hundred thirty-two patients underwent contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance angiography presurgical imaging, and the results were compared with 84 controls. The imaging was found to be accurate for evaluating the perforator anatomy for free abdominal flap planning, with a high concordance between imaging and intraoperative findings. Without presurgical angiography, the ratio of deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flap-to-free transverse rectus abdominis musculocutaneous flap harvest was 0.9:1; with presurgical imaging, the ratio was 1.6:1 (p < 0.05). With presurgical angiography, there was a mean reduction in operating time of 26 minutes for unilateral DIEP flap harvest and 40 minutes for bilateral harvest, although these values were not significant. There was a significant reduction in the partial flap failure rate with preoperative imaging. CONCLUSIONS: Presurgical imaging using contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance angiography demonstrates a high concordance with intraoperative findings. In this series, the percentage of flaps that were raised as DIEP flaps was significantly increased in patients who underwent preoperative imaging, and the partial flap failure rate was significantly reduced. CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: : Therapeutic, III.(Figure is included in full-text article.).

Original publication




Journal article


Plast reconstr surg

Publication Date





56 - 62


Adult, Aged, Angiography, Case-Control Studies, Contrast Media, Female, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Angiography, Mammaplasty, Middle Aged, Preoperative Care, Retrospective Studies, Surgical Flaps, Young Adult