Objectives: Microvascular reconstruction requires postoperative monitoring to prevent vascular occlusion and flap failure. These methods require skilled personnel and can delay diagnosis and treatment of threatened flap failures. The Cook-Swartz implantable Doppler flow system provides continual feedback on vascular pedicle status, which in turn provides rapid assessment of minute-to-minute changes in flap vasculature that may allow intervention before total vascular occlusion and expeditious reexploration for threatened flap failure, possibly improving flap salvage. Study design and setting: Charts of 24 patients with microvascular free-flap reconstruction and implantation of Doppler flow system at Mayo Clinic Rochester were retrospectively reviewed. Surgical technique and flap outcomes were evaluated. Results: Microvascular reconstruction and implantation of Doppler flow system were successful in all patients. Complications were minimal, and postoperative monitoring system facilitated rapid reexploration when necessary. Flap viability was 96%. Conclusion: Doppler flow system is reliable for monitoring minute-to-minute changes in microvascular flap vascular status postoperatively, and allows rapid recognition of complications and facilitating reexploration. This is a valuable, easily mastered tool for microvascular reconstructive surgery. Significance: May alter postoperative monitoring techniques of microvascular surgeons.
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