[Color comparison of donor sites of free flaps and the face]

Handchir Mikrochir Plast Chir. 2000 May;32(3):166-71. doi: 10.1055/s-2000-10923.
[Article in German]


Microsurgical reconstructions of the face using free flaps from the body and the extremities often lead to imperfect aesthetic results. In order to find the optimal free-flap donor site with respect to its colour we compared the colour of the face and of typical free-flap donor sites. In a study of 19 healthy, untanned subjects with skin type II-III (Fitzpatrick 1988), we measured the colour of four facial areas and of ten common free-flap donor sites and compared them statistically. Measurements were carried out with a Minolta CR-300 chromameter and the CIELAB colour system. We found that the face itself can be divided into two statistically significant different colour regions. The forehead-, cheek- and mandible areas have a distinctly different colour than the nose. The donor sites showing the best colour match with the forehead-, cheek- and mandible area were pectoralis, lateral upper arm, radialis, fibula, and latissimus. The nose area is clearly darker and less colourful. For this reason the colour match of all the free-flap donor sites in our investigation is poorer. Here the best suited donor site area is still the dorsalis pedis area.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Face / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / instrumentation
  • Photography / instrumentation
  • Pigmentation Disorders / diagnosis
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnosis
  • Skin Pigmentation*
  • Surgical Flaps*
  • Tissue and Organ Harvesting*