Laser Doppler blood flow measurements of common cutaneous donor sites for reconstructive surgery

Plast Reconstr Surg. 1990 Apr;85(4):581-6. doi: 10.1097/00006534-199004000-00013.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate cutaneous blood flow in regions commonly used as donor sites in reconstructive surgery in order to better establish normal flow ranges. Flow was measured with the TSI Laserflo BPM 403 in 27 healthy volunteers and compared to the flow in uncomplicated postoperative autologous tissue transplants. The forehead produced the highest flow, with an average value of 6.50 +/- 0.31 (mean +/- SE), and the dorsalis pedis had the lowest flow, with an average value of 0.60 +/- 0.04. Gender differences were noted in the latissimus dorsi, pectoralis major, and rectus abdominis areas. There were no significant differences between smokers and nonsmokers, hand dominance, musculocutaneous and fasciocutaneous tissues, or supine and sitting body positions. Flow levels in volunteers were similar to those in postoperative surviving autologous tissue transplants. The site-specific flow and flow changes over long time periods (hours) have helped clinical monitoring of 77 patients in the last 24 months. In every case identified by the flowmeter as decreased perfusion, a definite etiology for low reduction was documented. Complications occurred in 12 patients, and the rate of salvaging compromised tissue has increased from 50 percent using temperature monitoring and clinical observation to 83 percent with the computerized laser Doppler flowmeter.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Blood Volume
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lasers
  • Male
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Skin / blood supply*
  • Skin Transplantation*