The “Tokyo” Consensus on Propeller Flaps

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Abstract

Background:

Over the past few years, the use of propeller flaps, which base their blood supply on subcutaneous tissue or isolated perforators, has become increasingly popular. Because no consensus has yet been reached on terminology and nomenclature of the propeller flap, different and confusing uses of the term can be found in the literature.

Methods:

In this article, the authors report the consensus on the definition and classification of propeller flaps reached by the authors that gathered at the First Tokyo Meeting on Perforator and Propeller Flaps in June of 2009. Some peculiar aspects of the surgical technique are discussed.

Results:

A propeller flap can be defined as an “island flap that reaches the recipient site through an axial rotation.” The classification is based on the nourishing pedicle (subcutaneous pedicled propeller flap, perforator pedicled propeller flap, supercharged propeller flap), the degrees of skin island rotation (90 to 180 degrees) and, when possible, the artery of origin of the perforator.

Conclusions:

The propeller flap is a useful reconstructive tool that can achieve good cosmetic and functional results. A flap should be called a propeller flap only if it fulfils the definition above. The type of nourishing pedicle, the source vessel (when known), and the degree of skin island rotation should be specified for each flap.

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