Comparison of the Effects of Ischemic Preconditioning and Surgical Delay on Pedicled Musculocutaneous Flap Survival in a Rat Model

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Abstract

The huge effort to increase circulation in cutaneous flaps . . . with multiple delay procedures lasting weeks or even months, is now a thing of the past and should be relegated to the medical history books! —Miguel Orticochea, MD History of the Discovery of the Musculocutaneous Flap Method as a Universal and Immediate Substitute for the Method of Delay Br J Plast Surg 1983;36:524-418 Both surgical delay (SD) and ischemic preconditioning (IP) have been shown to be effective in improving the survival of pedicled musculocutaneous flaps. The goal of our study was to determine the effects of IP and SD, separately and together, on the survival of pedicled transverse rectus abdominis musculocutaneous (TRAM) flaps in a rat model. Thirty-two male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into four groups of 8 rats each: (1) control, (2) 2-week SD, (3) IP, and (4) SD plus IP. A TRAM flap was elevated in each rat. Flap viability was assessed on the fifth postoperative day by computerized video planimetry. Mean area of flap survival was compared between the control, IP, SD, and SD plus IP groups using analysis of variance and Student's f-test. Improvement in surface area survival was seen in musculocutaneous flaps subjected to IP, SD, and SD plus IP compared with the control. IP and SD improved survival 1.3 and 1.4 times the control area respectively. Differences between treatment and control flaps were statistically significant (p<0.04). In addition, the combination of SD plus IP improved survival by 1.8 times, which is statistically different from controls and from either technique individually (p<0.002). IP and SD have similar efficacy in improving survival in this musculocutaneous flap model. The effects of IP and SD appear to be additive. The advantage of IP over SD is that IP can be performed during the same operative session as the flap elevation and only adds 1 hour to the surgical procedure.

Zahir KS, Syed SA, Zink JR, Restifo RJ, Thomson JG. Comparison of the effects of ischemic preconditioning and surgical delay on pedicled musculocutaneous flap survival in a rat model. Ann Plast Surg 1998;40:422-429

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