Background: In plastic surgery practice, fasciocutaneous single-perforator-pedicled propeller flap is a preferred procedure; however, its survival rate is below than expected, especially in flaps with a big rotation arc. When botulinum toxin-A is injected into the muscle tissue that the perforator pedicle is arisen, the tonus of pertinent muscle can reduce and the blood flow of its perforator pedicle can increase. Therefore this procedure can improve the survival rate of single-perforator-pedicled propeller flap.
Aims: To evaluate the effect of botulinum toxin-A injected with ultrasonographic guidance into the muscle tissue that the perforator pedicle is arisen from one month ago on the perfusion of flap scintigraphically and the survival rate of single-perforator-pedicled propeller flap in a rat model.
Study design: Animal experiment.
Methods: Three study groups were receiving botulinum toxin-A (16 IU-0.4 mL), normal saline (0.4 mL), and no study drug one month ago before flap surgery. Injections were performed under ultrasonography guidance. Flaps were elevated fasciocutaneously over the right 2nd perforator pedicle, under the corneous, with a surgical loupe and microsurgery tool and were rotated clockwise 180°. Then the scintigraphic measurements were obtained after flap elevations in the study groups, including the whole-body and flap perfusions in the study rats. The involvement rate presents the ratio of flap perfusion to whole-body perfusion. Flaps were sutured back to the abdominal wall at the latest twisting angles. With standard photographs taken in all the groups on day 8 after the operation, whole and necrotic flap areas were calculated.
Results: Scintigraphically the involvement rate (the ratio of flap perfusion to whole-body perfusion) of the flaps in the botulinum toxin-A group were found significantly higher than those in the other groups (p<0.05). The area of a flap in the botulinum toxin-A group on day 8 post flap suturing was found to be significantly higher than those in the other groups (p<0.05). The area of a necrosis and the percentage of necrosis on day 8 post flap suturing in the botulinum toxin-A group was found significantly lower than those of the sham and null groups (p<0.05).
Conclusion: In a rat model, if with the ultrasonographic guidance, botulinum toxin-A is injected to the muscle which perforator of the prospective single-perforator-pedicled propeller flap originated and flap surgery is performed one month later after this injection, the perfusion of single-perforator-pedicled propeller flap increases scintigraphically and this improves flap survival and reduces its necrosis.
Keywords: flap necrosis; scintigraphy; ultrasonography; Botulinum toxin-A; propeller-perforatorpedicled flap; rats.