An anatomical and histological study of the vascularized iliotibial tract graft

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An examination of the vascular anatomy of the iliotibial tract (IT) has not been previously reported. Because a flap resists infection better than an avascular graft, a vascularized IT graft is useful for reconstructive surgeries pertaining to infected wounds or wounds in contact with artificial material. The purpose of this study was to examine the vascular anatomy of the IT.

Materials and Methods:

The study sample consisted of 39 limbs of freshly frozen cadavers. The study was divided into three parts. The ascending and transverse branches of the lateral circumflex femoral artery (LCFA) of all cadavers were injected with latex. Distance from the tensor fasciae latae muscle and the most distal point at which the vessel on the IT was stained by latex was recorded. A microscopic observation was performed for these limbs. The deep femoral artery (DFA) or superior lateral genicular artery (SLGA) was also observed.


The length of the IT fed by the LCFA was 162.3 ± 36.2 mm. The IT vascularity was located between the layered structure of the fascia and there was a vascular source for the IT within 1 mm above the IT by optical microscopy. The vascularity derived from the DFA or SLGA was not confirmed in any specimens.


Blood supply of the IT was derived from the LCFA and a vascularized IT graft could be elevated in length to approximately 16 cm. This knowledge may be useful for improving the safety of surgery when transferring an IT flap. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Microsurgery 36:325–329, 2016.

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