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Journal of the Korean Society for Surgery of the Hand 2000;9(1):15-22.
Published online May 31, 2000.
Analysis of 174 Consecutive Free Flaps
Kwan Chul Tark, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.S., Tai Suk Roh, M.D.
유리피판 이식술 1 7 4예의 분석
  One hundred & seventy four consecutive free-flap transfers were reviewed to analyze distribution of the type of reconstructions, kinds of donor flaps as well incidence of complications. The role of emergent exploration and the effect of preoperative wound conditions in flap survival were evaluated. Free flap transfer for head and neck reconstruction was most common as 93 cases, followed by for upper extremity of 30 cases, for lower extremity 30 cases, 18 penile reconstructions and for trunk & breast 3 cases. Nine flaps exhibited signs of ciruclatory insufficiency between 5 hours and 7 days. Three were managed conservatively with ultimate partial necrosis of the flaps. Eight flaps required return to the operating room. On exploration, early arterial occlusion was revealed in 1 flap, late arterial occlusion in 2 flaps, early venous occlusion in 1 flap, late venous thrombosis in 2 flaps, prolonged venous spasm in 1 and hematoma in 1 flap. The average time from the first abnormal examination to exploration was 2.6 hours. There were no false-positive explorations. Four free flaps failed in spite of the correction of the cause of circulatory compromise. The remaining 4 flaps were salvaged following the correction the casuse. Recipient vessel problems such as irradiation and infection were the most common cause of circulatory crisis. Among the eight flaps requiring return to the operating room, single vein was anastomosed in three flaps and two veins in the remaining five. In the totally failed four flaps only single vein was anastomosed in three cases. The results of this study demonstrate the efficacy of clinical monitoring and the role of early exploration. Precautious selection of recipient vessels and two vein anastomosis are recommended for safe and better prognosis.
Key Words: Free flap, Early exploration, Free flap failure, Anterial occlusion, Venous occlusion
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