The study was undertaken to provide a more complete picture of donor-site morbidity following the deep inferior epigastric artery perforator (DIEAP) flap harvest in breast reconstruction. Most studies evaluating this subject have been performed using ultrasonography. Computed tomography (CT) might provide valuable information.Methods:
In 14 patients who were reconstructed with a DIEAP flap, donor-site morbidity was assessed by comparing routine preoperative CT abdomen with CT abdomen performed 2 years postoperatively. The anteroposterior diameter and transverse diameter (TD) of the rectus muscle were measured bilaterally within 4 standardized zones. Diastasis recti abdominis (DRA) was measured in the same zones. The abdominal wall was assessed for hernias, bulging, and seromas.Results:
The operated rectus muscle had a significantly increased anteroposterior diameter in 2 zones and decreased TD in 1 zone compared with preoperative measurements. Comparing the operated and nonoperated rectus muscles, the former had a significantly decreased TD in 1 zone. Supraumbilical DRA was significantly decreased with surgery, whereas infraumbilical DRA was significantly increased. No new hernias or bulging were found. Two patients had seroma formation in the abdominal wall.Conclusions:
Symmetry of the 2 hemiabdomens is well preserved after DIEAP flap harvest; however, significant changes to the rectus muscles and DRA were observed. Hernia formation does not seem to be a postoperative complication of importance. The study indicates that DIEAP flaps result in limited donor-site morbidity, which for most patients does not outweigh the benefits of free perforator flap breast reconstruction.