Autologous fat grafting: A technique for stabilization of the microvascular pedicle in diep flap reconstruction

Eran D. Bar-Meir, Janet H. Yueh, Adam M. Tobias, Bernard T. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Proper orientation of the microvascular pedicle is essential to ensure a high success rate in microvascular surgery. The inset of a deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flap breast reconstruction can sometimes be problematic given the long vascular pedicle, the acute take-off from an internal mammary anastomosis, and the positioning of the flap on top of the vascular pedicle. In the postoperative period, the flap can also shift as the patient's activity level increases. We present a technique where nonvascularized autologous fat grafts are used to stabilize and cushion the vascular pedicle. Over a 14-month period, 117 consecutive DIEP flaps were performed to the internal mammary vessels with autologous fat grafting to the microvascular pedicle. Six flaps (5.1%) were explored during the immediate postoperative period for anastomotic compromise. Only one total flap failure (0.8%) was observed during this time. We had no direct complications related to the fat grafts. The use of nonvascularized autologous fat grafts is a simple and safe technique for stabilization of a microvascular pedicle. It should be considered in DIEP flap breast reconstruction and other microvascular cases where the vascular pedicle might be compressed by adjacent structures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)495-498
Number of pages4
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


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