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Surgical Technique
Septembet/Oct 2009

The Use of Ultrasonic Shears for the Harvest of Perforator Free Flaps

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles (Mr Ahmed), and Division of Head and Neck Surgery, Department of Surgery, David Geffen School of Medicine (Drs Sidell, Blackwell, Sercarz, Abemayor, and Nabili).

Arch Facial Plast Surg. 2009;11(5):343-346. doi:10.1001/archfacial.2009.64

A retrospective chart review was performed at a university medical center to evaluate the use of ultrasonic shears for the harvest of perforator free flaps over an 18-month period. The anterolateral thigh (ALT) was the perforator free flap site selected for the study. The site of origin and the number of musculocutaneous perforator vessels that were dissected using ultrasonic shears were recorded, and ALT flap viability and wound-healing complications were evaluated to assess safety. Seventeen patients underwent harvest of ALT perforator free flaps. Successful dissection of musculocutaneous perforators was achieved in 96% (27 of 28) of the descending branch perforators and in 100% (9 of 9) of the transverse branch perforators. Flap viability was 100% (17 of 17). We found that ultrasonic shears were effective and safe to use for harvesting perforator free flaps. According to these preliminary findings, the use of ultrasonic shears appears promising, yet further prospective analysis is needed.