The rectus abdominis muscle is a versatile muscle with many applications. The use of this muscle is often limited by its considerable donor site morbidity. This study reports a minimally invasive technique to harvest the rectus abdominis muscle. The described technique has been used successfully in 5 patients who required a superiorly based flap for reconstruction of a sternal defect. All patients have had long-term flap survival and resolution of their sternal osteomyelitis. Although initially lengthy, harvest times have been less than 1 hour for the last 3 patients. Patients report minimal discomfort at their operative site. To date there have been no hernias or other complications. The rectus abdominis muscle can be harvested successfully endoscopically. With no other modification other than port site placement, this technique could be used to harvest free flaps or harvest inferiorly based rectus flaps. This technique is learned easily, is safe, and should reduce substantially the donor site morbidity associated with more traditional harvesting techniques.
ASJC Scopus subject areas