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imageAbstract: Autologous flap breast reconstruction is an established technique that carries a risk of vascular failure. We evaluated the safety of salvaging impending venous congestion by using the cephalic vein for supercharging autologous abdominal flaps. Our main outcome measures were flap survival, triggering or impairing lymphedema as measured by the physician or reported by the patient, and scar severity as measured by the Vancouver scar scale. We were able to save 100% of the flaps, but could not find any statistical association with or without increased lymphedema before and after the procedure. One patient reported that lymphedema worsened. The patients accepted the scars (mean Vancouver scar scale score, 5.7). In sum, using the cephalic vein to improve venous drainage of autologous breast reconstruction was safe and did not trigger or impair lymphedema, but scarring in the upper arm was unavoidable.

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