A Novel Model for Supermicrosurgery Training: The Superficial Inferior Epigastric Artery Flap in Rats

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The purpose of this study was to determine the usefulness of a new flap model, the superficial inferior epigastric artery (SIEA) flap for supermicrosurgical training. Experimental groups were randomly divided into three groups of 10 rats each. In each group SIEA flaps were elevated and then returned to their original locations with or without vascular anastomosis of the superficial inferior epigastric vessels. Group 1: free SIEA flap, group 2: free SIEA flap with 1 hour ischemia time, group 3: free SIEA flap with 4 hours ischemia time, group 4: SIEA flap without vascular anastomosis. The viability rate was 80% with group 1, 50% with group 2, and 40% with group 3. All nonvascularized flaps (group 4) underwent complete necrosis. These findings suggest that preservation of blood flow in a flap has a beneficial effect on the prevention of microthrombosis in the subcutaneous capillary network of the skin and increases the flap survival rate. The SIEA flap with preserved circulation is an ideal model for developing supermicrosurgical skills.

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