Comparison of three different supercharging procedures in a rat skin flap model

Hak Chang, Imanishi Nobuaki, Toshiharu Minabe, Hideo Nakajima

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44 Citations (Scopus)


A significant clinical problem in reconstructive surgery is partial loss of a pedicled flap. To resolve this problem, various methods of vascular augmentation have been developed; "supercharging" is one of those techniques. A new rat flap model was developed for investigation of the supercharging procedure, and the efficacy of the arterial supercharging method was examined. The purpose of this study was to investigate how an arterial supercharging procedure could generate large flap survival areas with different supercharging positions in rats. On the basis of the vascular anatomical features of rats, a circumferential skin flap from the lower abdomen to the back, measuring 4 × 12 cm, was marked. The flap was divided along the dorsal midline. Forty rats were divided into four experimental groups, as follows: group 1 (control), flaps based only on the deep circumflex iliac artery and vein; group 2, flaps supercharged with the ipsilateral superficial inferior epigastric artery; group 3, flaps supercharged with the contralateral superficial inferior epigastric artery; group 4, flaps supercharged with the contralateral deep circumflex iliac artery. On the fourth postoperative day, the flaps were evaluated with measurements of necrosis and survival areas. Microfil (Flow Tech, Inc., Carver, Mass.) was then injected manually throughout the body, and the vascular changes produced by supercharging were angiographically evaluated. Compared with group 1 (control), the flap survival areas were significantly greater in distally supercharged flaps in groups 3 and 4 (mean flap survival, 91.2 ± 5.2 percent and 90.5 ± 10.6 percent, respectively; p < 0.001) and in proximally supercharged flaps in group 2 (45.9 ± 4.1 percent, p < 0.05). Angiographic assessment of the flaps that survived completely revealed marked dilation of the choke veins among the territories and reorientation of dilated veins along the axes of the flaps. This study suggests that distal arterial supercharging (contralateral superficial inferior epigastric artery or contralateral deep circumflex iliac artery) is more effective than proximal arterial supercharging (ipsilateral superficial inferior epigastric artery) in increasing flap survival. Although the rat skin flap may not be analogous to human flaps, distal arterial supercharging might have useful therapeutic potential in increasing flap survival in clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-283
Number of pages7
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Jan
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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