Management of Implant Exposure in One-Stage Breast Reconstruction Using Titanium-Coated Polypropylene Mesh: Sub-Mammary Intercostal Perforator Flap

Michele Antonio De Riggi, Nicola Rocco, Giulio Gherardini, Emanuela Esposito, Massimiliano D’Aiuto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: One-stage implant-based breast reconstruction using titanium-coated polypropylene mesh is a novel approach widely used in Europe. Complication rates in breast reconstruction with the use of titanium-coated meshes seem to be comparable to those in patients with implant-based breast reconstruction alone. However, the use of synthetic meshes in implant-based breast reconstructive surgery leads to new clinical scenarios with the need for the breast surgeon to face new complications. We present an innovative treatment of implant exposure in the absence of infection in patients who underwent nipple-sparing mastectomy and immediate breast reconstruction with silicone implants and titanium-coated polypropylene mesh by using a pedicled sub-mammary intercostal perforator flap. Cases Presentation: Four patients who experienced implant exposure without infection have been treated with the use of a sub-mammary intercostal perforator flap. Whole coverage of the exposed implant/mesh with a sub-mammary intercostal perforator flap was obtained in all cases. No post-operative complications have been observed, whereas a pleasant aesthetic result has been achieved. Patients’ post-operative quality of life and satisfaction levels were measured by the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer breast cancer-specific quality of life QLQ-BR23 questionnaire and showed an average good satisfaction with the post-operative outcomes (mean QLQ-BR23 score 1.9). Discussion: For the first time, a sub-mammary intercostal perforator flap has been used with the aim of treating implant exposures without removing the prosthesis even in the presence of synthetic meshes, when wound infection was excluded. Although tested on a small series, the sub-mammary intercostal perforator flap might represent a simple, versatile and cost-effective procedure for the management of implant exposure following nipple-sparing mastectomy and immediate reconstruction with silicone implants and synthetic meshes. It should be considered to avoid implant removal followed by delayed free flap reconstruction as “salvage surgery.” Level of Evidence V: This journal requires that the authors assign a level of evidence to each article. For a full description of these Evidence-Based Medicine ratings, please refer to the Table of Contents or the online Instructions to Authors

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)896-900
Number of pages5
JournalAesthetic Plastic Surgery
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Breast reconstruction
  • Implant exposure
  • Sub-mammary intercostal perforator flap
  • TiLOOP Bra

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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