External Doppler Monitoring of Free Flaps through Negative Pressure Dressings


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Abstract

The negative pressure dressing is a highly effective modality for coverage and bolstering of skin grafts in the early postoperative period. In the situation of a skin graft over a free flap, the surgeon might be inclined to avoid this modality out of concern that the dressing would deleteriously effect flap survival or impede flap monitoring. This case series supports the safety of the negative pressure dressing and demonstrates a technical modification that permits external Doppler monitoring of the flap through the dressing. Thus, this technique provides an ideal environment for skin graft healing while maintaining the ability to monitor the flap in a straightforward manner and also simplifies nursing care.

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