Is the platysma flap musculocutaneous? Angiographic study of the platysma

Nobuaki Imanishi, Hideo Nakajima, Kazuo Kishi, Hak Chang, Sadakazu Aiso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The platysma flap has often been used for reconstructions of the head and neck, but the arterial anatomy of the platysma itself has not been clarified. Methods: The anterolateral neck skin in five sides of four fresh cadavers that had been injected systemically with a lead oxide-gelatin mixture was elevated and divided into three layers: the skin with adipofascial tissue over the platysma, the platysma, and the adipofascial tissue under the platysma. Radiographs were taken of each specimen using the soft x-ray system. Results: The anterolateral neck skin was chiefly supplied by branches of the submental, facial, superior thyroid, transverse cervical, and occipital arteries, and it was found that the vasculature of the arterial branches can be classified into three groups. In all of the groups, the arterial branches penetrated the platysma and did not run long in the platysma layer. The platysma was supplied by only small vessels from the arterial branches. Furthermore, there was little connection between the vascular plexus of the platysma and that of the skin layer with adipofascial tissue above the platysma and the platysma located in the subcutaneous tissue. Conclusions: The platysma flap should be considered fasciocutaneous rather than musculocutaneous. Therefore, the platysma flap should usually be elevated with the deep adipofascial tissue under the platysma. Flap survival is threatened if it is elevated without the adipofascial tissue under the muscle as with a usual musculocutaneous flap.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1018-1024
Number of pages7
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Apr 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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