The value of dynamic infrared thermography in pedicled thoracodorsal artery perforator flap surgery
Background: Dynamic infrared thermography (DIRT) is a noninvasive imaging technique that can provide indirect and real-time information on skin perfusion by measuring skin temperature. Although used in flap surgery, there are no reports on its value in procedures using a pedicled thoracodorsal artery perforator (TDAP) flap. The aim of this study was to assess the usefulness of DIRT in preoperative perforator mapping and in monitoring intra- and postoperative flap perfusion of pedicled TDAP flaps.
Methods: This prospective study comprised 21 patients (21 flaps) scheduled for reconstructive surgery with a TDAP flap. Perforator mapping was done by DIRT, handheld unidirectional Doppler ultrasound, and computer tomography angiography. Intra- and postoperative flap perfusion was assessed by clinical signs and with the use of DIRT and handheld unidirectional Doppler ultrasound.
Results: Perforator mapping with DIRT showed that first-appearing bright hotspots were always associated with arterial Doppler sounds and suitable perforators intraoperatively. Computer tomography angiography presented useful information on the thoracodorsal artery branching pattern but was less beneficial for perforator mapping. Intra- and postoperative flap monitoring with DIRT was more useful than handheld unidirectional Doppler ultrasound and clinical signs to detect early arterial and venous perfusion problems. DIRT demonstrated that TDAP flap perfusion is a dynamic process with an increase in perfusion during the first operative days. Nineteen flaps survived, of which 3 sustained distal necrosis. Two flaps were lost due to inadequate blood perfusion.
Conclusion: DIRT provides valuable real-time information for perforator mapping and for monitoring TDAP flap perfusion intra- and postoperatively.
PublisherThe American Society of Plastic Surgeons
Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.