Anatomical Consideration for the Safe Elevation of the Deep Circumflex Iliac Artery in Flap Surgery

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Abstract

Background:

Deep circumflex iliac artery osteocutaneous flap transfer has frequently been applied to large defects in the maxillary and mandible regions, but the use rate has decreased gradually because of the complicated anatomy of the deep circumflex iliac artery. This study investigated the comprehensive anatomy of the deep circumflex iliac artery in relation to flap surgery with the aim of providing navigational guidelines for safe deep circumflex iliac artery harvesting.

Methods:

Sixty-two sides of the hemi–abdominal wall were dissected in fixed Korean cadavers. Several dimensions of the deep circumflex iliac artery and its positional relationships with surgical landmarks were measured, and the patterns of the arterial supply and anastomosis were identified.

Results:

The mean distance between the anterior superior iliac spine and the lateral border of the femoral artery was 57.5 mm. The deep circumflex iliac artery generally originated almost at the same level as the inguinal ligament, and its highest level was 14.8 mm superior to that ligament. Emerging points of the ascending branch were observed both medial and lateral to the anterior superior iliac spine, but no transverse branch pierced the transversus abdominis muscle medial to the anterior superior iliac spine.

Conclusions:

The incision line for safe deep circumflex iliac artery harvesting was parallel and 2 cm superior to the inguinal ligament and 6 cm from the anterior superior iliac spine. This position of the safe incision line can be easily determined using the thumb. Sex differences in the incidence of the deep circumflex iliac artery originating above or below the inguinal ligament will be another useful guide for easily detecting the deep circumflex iliac artery.

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