Application of Multidetector-Row Computed Tomography in Propeller Flap Planning

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The propeller flap is defined as (1) being island-shaped, (2) having an axis that includes the perforators, and (3) having the ability to be rotated around an axis. The advantage of the propeller flap is that it is a pedicle flap that can be applied to cover defects located at the distal ends of the extremities. The specific aims of the authors' study were (1) to evaluate the usefulness of multidetector-row computed tomography in the planning of propeller flaps and (2) to present a clinical case series of propeller flap reconstructions that were planned preoperatively using multidetector-row computed tomography.


The authors retrospectively analyzed all cases between April of 2007 and April of 2010 at Nippon Medical School Hospital in Tokyo, where multidetector-row computed tomography was used preoperatively to plan surgical reconstructions using propeller flaps.


Thirteen patients underwent 16 flaps using the propeller flap technique. The perforators were identified accurately by multidetector-row computed tomography preoperatively in all cases.


This is the first report describing the application of multidetector-row computed tomography in the planning of propeller flaps. Multidetector-row computed tomography is superior to other imaging methods because it demonstrates more precisely the perforator's position and subcutaneous course using high-resolution three-dimensional images. By using multidetector-row computed tomography to preoperatively identify a flap's perforators, the surgeon can better plan the flap design to efficiently conduct the flap surgery.

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