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    Postoperative evaluation of free flaps remains a challenging task. The current accepted standard for diagnosis of vascular compromise remains clinical observation. In recent years, near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) has been widely used as a noninvasive objective monitoring tool for postoperative evaluation of soft-tissue flaps. However, methods for monitoring bone flaps remain inadequate. In this study, NIRS was applied for the first time to monitor free buried bone flaps that were used for mandibular reconstruction. The penetrating property of NIRS was used to measure the tissue oxygenation index (TOI) of deep tissues, which reflected the microcirculatory status of the tissues. Changes in TOI values were monitored continuously in 59 cases of free bone flaps up to 72 hours after surgery. Five cases of vascular compromise were noted by clinical observation. Two fibula flaps were total failures, one of which showed a sharp decrease in TOI value to 45% in a short period of time; the other showed a continual gradual decrease to 55%. The observed sudden (<50%) and continuous (>10%) decreases in TOI values suggest that more attention should be paid to revision surgical procedures. The authors conclude that NIRS holds promise as an objective and valid method for clinical evaluation of buried bone flaps. Copyright © 2023 by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.


    Yixin Ma, Shijun Li, Xiaofeng Shan, Lei Zhang, Zhigang Cai. Continuous Monitoring of Buried Free Bone Flap Microcirculation Using a Near-Infrared Spectroscopy System. Plastic and reconstructive surgery. 2024 Mar 01;153(3):626e-631e

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    PMID: 37166029

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