An experimental investigation is presented into the use of pulsed ultrasound Doppler flowmetry with a percutaneously implanted probe as a monitor of microvascular anastomotic patency. The method accurately indicated and distinguished between experimental arterial and venous occlusion in epigastric island flaps. In free flaps it had advantages over manipulative, intra-operative tests of anastomotic patency and was a reliable post-operative monitor of flap circulation in the experimental model. The technique appears to have great potential as a post-operative monitor for free flaps, including those without a visible surface. © 1986 The Trustees of British Association of Plastic Surgeons. All rights reserved.
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