Mapping the vascular anatomy of free transplanted soft tissue flaps with computed tomographic angiography
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The use of advanced imaging technologies such as computed tomographic angiography (CTA) has opened the door to the analysis of microvascular anatomy not previously demonstrable with prior imaging techniques. While CTA has been used to evaluate the vascular anatomy of donor body regions in the planning of harvest of tissue for free flap transfer, the use of CTA to evaluate tissues after tissue transplantation has not been demonstrated. The current study aimed to explore whether vascular anatomy was able to highlight CTA within transferred flaps.
The arterial and venous anatomy of a transferred deep inferior epigastric artery (DIEA) perforator (DIEP) flap was explored postoperatively with the use of CTA. Intra-flap vasculature was mapped and recorded qualitatively.
Postoperative CTA is able to highlight the vascular pedicle of a transferred free flap, highlight the course of individual perforators supplying the flap, and map the zones of lesser perfusion by the source pedicle.
The current study has demonstrated that CTA may be of value in identifying vascular anatomy within transferred tissue, as a guide to evaluate flap perfusion and planning further surgery involving the flap.
KeywordsDeep inferior epigastric artery perforator flap DIEP flap Transverse rectus abdominis Computed tomography angiography Preoperative imaging CT scan
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