Laparoscopic Harvest of the Rectus Abdominis for Perineal Reconstruction

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The rectus abdominis is a workhorse flap for perineal reconstruction, in particular after abdominoperineal resection (APR). Laparoscopic and robotic techniques for abdominoperineal surgery are becoming more common. The open harvest of the rectus abdominis negates the advantages of these minimally invasive approaches. (Sentence relating to advantages of laparoscopic rectus deleted here.) We present our early experience with laparoscopic harvest of the rectus muscle for perineal reconstruction. Three laparoscopic unilateral rectus abdominis muscle harvests were performed for perineal reconstruction following minimally invasive colorectal and urological procedures. The 2 patients who underwent APR also had planned external perineal skin reconstruction with local flaps. (Sentence deleted here to shorten abstract.) All rectus muscle harvests were performed laparoscopically. Two were for perineal reconstruction following laparoscopic APR, and 1 was for anterior vaginal wall reconstruction. This was done with 4 ports positioned on the contralateral abdomen. The average laparoscopic harvest time was 60–90 minutes. The rectus muscle remained viable in all cases. One patient developed partial necrosis of a posterior thigh fasciocutaneous flap after cancer recurrence. There were no pelvic abscesses, or abdominal wall hernias. Laparoscopic harvest of the rectus appears to be a cost-effective, reliable, and reproducible procedure for perineal with minimal donor-site morbidity. Larger clinical studies are needed to further establish the efficacy and advantages of the laparoscopic rectus for perineal reconstruction.

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