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J R Soc Med. 1985 April; 78(4): 308–314.
PMCID: PMC1289681

Quantitative analysis of skin flap blood flow in the rat using laser Doppler velocimetry.


Two experiments carried out on rat skin flaps are described, where microvascular flow has been measured noninvasively by a laser Doppler velocimeter. Using this technique it is possible to define the limits of an axial pattern flap in terms of microvascular flow; this was found to increase when the flap is elevated. 'Random-pattern' perfusion is defined by a fall in flow. This recovers sequentially along the flap, and at a constant rate at all sites. A differential in microvascular perfusion is thus maintained along a random-pattern flap for at least the first postoperative week. In a second experiment it is shown that there appears to be a linear relationship between the reduction in skin blood flow in a random-pattern flap and the distance from the base at which the measurements are made. It is suggested that these data support the view that the blood flow in a skin flap recovers primarily from its base rather than via peripheral neovascularization, and that this is due to vascular collaterals opening within the flap rather than to a relaxation of sympathetic tone.

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Selected References

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