ESTABLISHING THE CASE FOR CT ANGIOGRAPHY IN THE PREOPERATIVE IMAGING OF ABDOMINAL WALL PERFORATORS


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Abstract

Preoperative imaging of the donor site vasculature for deep inferior epigastric artery (DIEA) perforator flaps and other abdominal wall reconstructive flaps has become more commonplace. Abdominal wall computed tomography angiography (CTA) has been described as the most accurate and reproducible modality available for demonstrating the location, size, and course of individual perforators. We drew on our experience of 75 consecutive patients planned for DIEA-based flap surgery undertaking CTA at a single institution. Seven of these cases have been reported to highlight the utility of CTA for preoperative planning, emphasizing the unique information supplied by CTA that may influence operative outcome. Among all cases that underwent preoperative imaging with CTA, there was 100% flap survival, with no partial or complete flap necrosis. We found that in three of the cases described, the choice of operation was necessarily selected based on CTA findings (DIEA perforator flap, transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous flap, and superficial superior epigastric artery flap). In addition, three cases demonstrate that CTA findings may dictate the decision to operate at all, and one case demonstrates the utility of CTA for evaluating the entire abdominal contents for comorbid conditions. Our experience with CTA for abdominal wall perforator mapping has been highly beneficial. CTA may guide operative technique and improve perforator selection in uncomplicated cases, and in difficult cases it can guide the most appropriate operation or indeed if an operation is appropriate at all. This is particularly the case in the setting of comorbidities or previous abdominal surgery.

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