Dexmedetomidine as an Alternative Anesthetic Agent for Flap Surgery: An Intravital Evaluation in the Cremaster Muscle Flap

J Craniofac Surg. 2019 Nov-Dec;30(8):2469-2472. doi: 10.1097/SCS.0000000000005850.


Introduction: Flap surgery is one of the most commonly used techniques of reconstructive surgery for effective repair of damaged tissue. Optimal anesthetic technique and anesthetic agent plays an important role in flap perfusion. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of dexmedetomidine infusion on the microcirculation in the cremaster muscle flap by direct in vivo monitoring.

Materials and methods: We randomly divided 9 Wistar albino rats into 3 groups. The rats in the control group underwent the surgical procedure (isolation of the cremaster muscle) alone; the rats in the experimental groups 1 and 2 received an infusion of dexmedetomidine (10 and 30 min) after the surgical procedure.

Results: The means of vessel diameters, number of functional capillaries, and movements of leukocytes in all groups were evaluated using intravital microscopic examination. The diameters of the arterioles and venules of the cremaster muscle significantly increased in the dexmedetomidine groups. The number of functional capillaries was higher in the dexmedetomidine groups than in the control group. No difference was observed in the movements of leukocytes between the control and experimental groups. Dexmedetomidine significantly increased the diameters of the arterioles and venules of the cremaster flap and the number of functional capillaries.

Conclusion: On the basis of the effects of dexmedetomidine on microcirculation, we suggest that dexmedetomidine continue to be used as an anesthetic agent, and may be considered also for reconstructive procedures, particularly flap surgery.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Muscles
  • Anesthetics / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Capillaries
  • Dexmedetomidine / pharmacology*
  • Leukocytes
  • Microcirculation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Surgical Flaps


  • Anesthetics
  • Dexmedetomidine