High-Throughput Screening of Full-Face Clinically Relevant Arterial Variations Using Three-Dimensional Postmortem Computed Tomography

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Abstract

Background:

Vascular complications resulting from intravascular filler injection and embolism are major safety concerns for facial filler injection. It is essential to systematically screen full-face arterial variations and help design evidence-based safe filler injection protocols.

Methods:

The carotid arteries of 22 cadaveric heads were infused with adequate lead oxide contrast. The facial and superficial temporal arteries of another 12 cadaveric heads were injected with the contrast in a sequential order. A computed tomographic scan was acquired after each contrast injection, and each three-dimensional computed tomographic scan was reconstructed using validated algorithms.

Results:

Three-dimensional computed tomography clearly demonstrated the course, relative depth, and anastomosis of all major arteries in 63 qualified hemifaces. The ophthalmic angiosome consistently deploys two distinctive layers of branch arteries to the forehead. The superficial temporal and superior palpebral arteries run along the preauricular and superior palpebral creases, respectively. The study found that 74.6 percent of the hemifaces had nasolabial trunks coursing along the nasolabial crease, and that 50.8 percent of the hemifaces had infraorbital trunks that ran through the infraorbital region. Fifty percent of the angular arteries were the direct anastomotic channels between the facial and ophthalmic angiosomes, and 29.2 percent of the angular arteries were members of the ophthalmic angiosomes.

Conclusions:

Full-face arterial variations were mapped using postmortem three-dimensional computed tomography. Facial creases were in general correlated with underlying deep arteries. Facial and angular artery variations were identified at high resolution, and reclassified into clinically relevant types to guide medical practice.

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