Literature Review: Robotic-Assisted Harvest of Deep Inferior Epigastric Flap for Breast Reconstruction

Mustafa T.A. Khan, Brian Wong Won, Kyle Baumgardner, Melinda Lue, Lisandro Montorfano, Rayaad C. Hosein, Howard T. Wang, Roberto A. Martinez

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Introduction Robotic-assisted surgery is gaining popularity because of reported improvement in aesthetic outcomes while reducing the occurrence of complications compared with conventional surgical methods. Deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flap harvesting has a long track record as a viable procedure for autologous reconstruction of the breast. In this literature review, we describe the feasibility of using the robotic platform in DIEP flap harvest. Methods The Preferred Reporting Items for Systemic Reviews and Meta-Analysis methodology was to guide the literature review. PubMed and Scopus databases were searched from inception to June 6, 2022. The Medical Subject Heading terms and keywords used to conduct this search are as described: "Robotic AND deep inferior epigastric perforator AND Breast reconstruction."Results Seven publications, detailing a total of 56 robotic-assisted DIEP flap harvest procedures, were selected for review. Four publications used the transabdominal preperitoneal approach, whereas 2 exclusively used a totally extraperitoneal approach, and 1 compared the 2 approaches. The measured outcomes included technical feasibility of flap harvest in cadavers, viable flap harvest in live patients, harvest time and pedicle dissection time, pedicle length, fascial incision length, donor site pain, need for postoperative narcotic, donor site morbidity, and hernia formation. Overall, the reviewed articles demonstrated successful DIEP flap harvesting without the need for conversion to the conventional open procedure. Postoperative complications were minimal. Robotic DIEP flap harvest was shown to be safe and there were no reports of donor-site morbidity in the studies reviewed. The main advantages of the robotic approach include decreased postoperative pain and length of hospital stay, along with improved aesthetic outcomes. The main disadvantages are increased operative time and cost. Conclusions Although at its current iteration, the robotic-assisted DIEP flap is feasible, it may not be practical in all settings. Furthermore, the true benefit of the robotic platform is yet to be determined, as more long-term studies are necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)703-708
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of plastic surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • breast reconstruction
  • deep inferior epigastric perforator
  • free flap
  • robotic surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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