We report a two-part anatomical and clinical study whose aim was to map the dominant dorsal intercostal cutaneous perforators (DICPs), which are useful for microvascular augmentation of flaps raised from the skin of the back called subdermal vascular network (SVN) flaps, and to test their reliability in the clinical setting. In the anatomical arm of the study, using preserved cadavers, we macroscopically confirmed the location of DICPs, and performed micro-angiography of the dorsal skin to find each dominant DICP. In the clinical arm of the study, we confirmed the location of the dominant DICP during microvascular augmented SVN flap transfer. Postoperatively, posteroanterior radiographs of the chest were taken to locate vessel clips used to ligate the DICPs. The combined study results showed that the dominant DICP is the sixth or seventh in most instances, but there are some anatomical variations. If no dominant DICP is found in the sixth or seventh spaces, at least one DICP that is of sufficient calibre for microvascular augmentation can usually be found in the general vicinity, such as the fifth, eighth or ninth spaces. The clinical application of microvascular augmented SVN flaps, both pedicled and free, is presented.
Bibliographical noteErratum can be found in British Journal of Plastic Surgery, 55(8), P. 710, 2002.
- Anatomical study
- Clinical study
- Dorsal intercorsal cutaneous perforator
- Subdermal vascular network flap