Robotic-assisted deep inferior epigastric artery perforator flap abdominal harvest for breast reconstruction: A case report

Microsurgery. 2018 Sep;38(6):702-705. doi: 10.1002/micr.30297. Epub 2018 Jan 25.


The deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flap is a mainstay of autologous breast reconstruction. The da Vinci robot has recently been adapted for an increasing number of reconstructive surgeries. The literature has yet to describe its use for the intra-abdominal harvest of the deep inferior epigastric vessels (DIEV) during DIEP flap breast reconstruction. We show the use of the da Vinci robotic surgical system for the intra-abdominal dissection of DIEV during delayed breast reconstruction with a DIEP flap in a 51-year-old female who had undergone a right modified radical mastectomy. After dissecting the flap from the anterior abdominal wall leaving only the targeted perforating vessels intact, a 1.5 cm fascial incision was made adjacent to the perforator and the vessels were dissected to below the level of the fascia. The intra-abdominal robotic-assisted dissection of the DIEV up to the perforator was then completed. The DIEV were divided at their origin using the robot and the flap removed from the abdomen for subsequent reconstruction. This technique enabled improved precision of flap harvest while also decreasing the donor-site morbidity by minimizing the incision length of the anterior rectus sheath. The patient had an uneventful postoperative course and, at 9-month follow-up, exhibited no evidence of flap or donor-site complications, specifically hernia or bulge. This novel approach for the harvest of a DIEP flap introduces an alternative technique to the conventional DIEP flap procedure in the appropriate patient population. Risks inherent to this technique as well as additional costs must be considered.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Wall / blood supply*
  • Epigastric Arteries*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammaplasty / methods*
  • Microsurgery / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Perforator Flap / blood supply*
  • Robotic Surgical Procedures / methods*