Practical considerations for perforator flap thinning procedures revisited

Theddeus O.H. Prasetyono, Kristaninta Bangun, Frank B. Buchari, Putri Rezkini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Background A thin perforator flap is one of the best methods for covering defects. This study aimed to revisit and further test the rapidly advancing field of flap thinning techniques. Methods We performed two cadaveric studies to test the known flap thinning methods, and then applied these methods to a clinical series. In the first study, five cadavers were used to observe the anatomical relation of the perforator with the subdermal plexuses and the subcutaneous fat layer by injecting a colored latex solution. The second study was done on four cadavers independently from the first study. Last, a clinical series was performed on 15 patients. Results The areolar fat lobules of 10 anterolateral thigh perforator (ALT), seven deep inferior epigastric artery perforator (DIEAP), and six thoracodorsal artery perforator (TAP) flaps were dissected to reduce the flap thickness guided by the colored vascular pattern. On average, the ALT, DIEAP, and TAP flaps were reduced to 32.76%±9.76%, 37.01%±9.21%, and 35.42%± 9.41%, respectively. In the second study, the areolar fat lobules were directly dissected in six ALT, six TAP, and four MSAP flaps, and an average reduction in flap thickness of 53.41%± 5.64%, 52.30%±2.88%, and 47.87%±6.41%, respectively, was found. In the clinical series, 13 out of the 15 cases yielded satisfactory outcomes with an average thickness reduction of 37.91%±7.15%. Conclusions These multiple studies showed that the deep fat layer could be safely removed to obtain a thin yet viable perforator flap. This evidence suggests that the macroscopic flap thinning technique can achieve thin flaps. Surgeons should consider this technique before embracing the latest technique of supermicrosurgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)693-701
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Plastic Surgery
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2014


  • Microsurgery
  • Microvessels
  • Perforator flap
  • Subcutaneous fat
  • Surgical flaps


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