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Plast Reconstr Surg. 2010 Dec;126(6):1924-35. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e3181f447ac.

Early detection of complete vascular occlusion in a pedicle flap model using quantitative [corrected] spectral imaging.

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Department of Surgery, the Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery Institute, and the Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA.

Erratum in

  • Plast Reconstr Surg. 2011 Feb;127(2):1024.



Vascular occlusion after tissue transfer is a devastating complication that can lead to complete flap loss. Spatial frequency domain imaging is a new, noncontact, noninvasive, wide-field imaging technology capable of quantifying oxygenated and deoxygenated hemoglobin levels, total hemoglobin, and tissue saturation.


Pedicled fasciocutaneous flaps on Wistar rats (400 to 500 g) were created and underwent continuous imaging using spatial frequency domain imaging before and after selective vascular occlusion. Three flap groups (control, selective arterial occlusion, and selective venous occlusion) and a fourth group composed of native skin between the flaps were measured.


There were no statistically significant differences between the control flap group and the experimental flap groups before selective vascular occlusion: oxyhemoglobin (p=0.2017), deoxyhemoglobin (p=0.3145), total hemoglobin (p=0.2718), and tissue saturation, (p=0.0777). In the selective arterial occlusion flap group, percentage change in total hemoglobin was statistically different from that of the control flap group (p=0.0218). The remaining parameters were not statistically different from those of the control flap: percentage change in oxyhemoglobin (p=0.0888), percentage change in deoxyhemoglobin (p=0.5198), and percentage change in tissue saturation (p=0.4220). The selective venous occlusion flap group demonstrated changes statistically different compared with the control flap group: percentage change in oxyhemoglobin (p=0.0029) and deoxyhemoglobin, total hemoglobin, and tissue saturation (p<0.0001).


Spatial frequency domain imaging provides two-dimensional, spatially resolved maps of tissue oxyhemoglobin, deoxyhemoglobin, total hemoglobin, and tissue saturation. Results presented here indicate that this can be used to quantify and detect physiologic changes that occur after arterial and venous occlusion in a rodent tissue transfer flap model. This portable, noncontact, noninvasive device may have a high clinical applicability in monitoring postoperative patients.

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