J Reconstr Microsurg 2009; 25(5): 319-321
DOI: 10.1055/s-0029-1215524
© Thieme Medical Publishers

A Reliable and Aesthetic Technique for Cephalic Vein Harvest in DIEP Flap Surgery

Thorir Audolfsson1 , Warren M. Rozen2 , Marcus J.D Wagstaff3 , Iain S. Whitaker4 , Rafael Acosta1
  • 1Department of Plastic Surgery, Uppsala Clinic Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden
  • 2Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, The University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • 3Department of Plastic Surgery, University Hospitals of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom
  • 4Department of Plastic, Reconstructive and Burns Surgery, The Welsh National Plastic Surgery Unit, The Morriston Hospital, Swansea, United Kingdom
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
27 April 2009 (online)


The need for a secondary source of venous drainage in deep inferior epigastric artery perforator flaps is common, with the cephalic vein commonly utilized as an alternative venous recipient vessel. In using the cephalic vein, previous studies have described the deltopectoral groove or the infraclavicular fossa as the site for harvest. We describe the use of an anterior axillary skin crease, which can improve aesthetic outcome, reduce the time needed for harvest, enable a greater length of vein to be transposed, and minimize surgical insult to the upper breast/chest wall. An anterior axillary-line skin fold can be used as the site for cephalic vein harvest, and using the methodology described, the technique can be fast and highly reliable and result in a final scar that is barely visible.


Dr. Rafael Acosta

Chief of Reconstructive Microsurgery, Department of Plastic Surgery

Uppsala Clinic Hospital, Uppsala, 75185, Sweden

Email: rafael.acosta.rojas@akademiska.se