Background: As the use of stacked flaps and options for autologous breast reconstruction increase, the level of complexity in autologous breast reconstruction has risen. Frequently, these reconstruction types present technical challenges such as vessel mismatches and short pedicle length. In this study, the authors introduce their five steps of harvesting composite deep inferior epigastric artery (DIEA) and deep inferior epigastric vein (DIEV) grafts to overcome such challenges. Methods: The authors performed a retrospective review of patients who underwent microvascular reconstruction using DIEA/DIEV grafts from 2012 to 2020. The grafts were harvested using the five steps, as follows: Step 1, a transverse, paramedian skin incision was made at the level of suprapubic crease; step 2, an oblique fasciotomy was made on the lateral rectus border; step 3, DIEA/DIEV vessels were identified and exposed past the confluence of two venae comitantes; step 4, DIEA/DIEV grafts were harvested while sparing motor nerves; and step 5, fascial closure was performed. Results: A total of 40 DIEA/DIEV grafts were used in 25 patients (lumbar artery perforator flaps, n = 25; lateral thigh flaps, n = 1; superficial inferior epigastric artery flaps, n = 12; and flap salvage, n = 2) for breast reconstruction. The average time of harvest was 28 minutes, and there were two flap losses. Conclusions: In the authors' experience, DIEA/DIEV grafts can be safely harvested and used in flaps with short pedicles and small vessel size. Although the authors' experience was limited to breast reconstruction, the DIEA/DIEV grafts can be used for other types of reconstruction, especially for head and neck reconstruction.
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