The superficial (near the surface) vessels in the abdominal fatty tissue are the primary source of blood flow in some patients. In superficial inferior epigastric artery (SIEA) surgery, skin and fat are removed from the lower abdomen to be used to reconstruct the breast. Muscle is left intact and muscle function is preserved. Once the skin and fat are positioned on the breast the blood supply is reconnected.
There is a risk of tissue death resulting in a loss of the flap at the time of surgery or within the first few days after surgery. The surgeon's experience, however, is the primary factor determining the likelihood of flap loss.