Smartphone Thermal Imaging Can Enable the Safer Use of Propeller Flaps

Semin Plast Surg. 2020 Aug;34(3):161-164. doi: 10.1055/s-0040-1714291. Epub 2020 Sep 22.


The use of thermography for the identification of cutaneous "hot spots" that coincide with perforators is not a new concept, but the required professional cameras may be prohibitively expensive. Only relatively recently, incredibly cheap but adequate thermal imaging cameras have become available that work in concert with the ubiquitous cell phone. This can now serve as a rapid, accurate, and complementary method for finding a perforator sufficient to serve as the hub for a perforator pedicled propeller flap. In addition, the preferred direction of rotation about that hub, effect of flap insetting on perfusion, and then postoperative monitoring are possible by proper interpretation of corresponding thermograms. Every reconstructive surgeon should be able to obtain this device, and then easily learn what potential attributes for them are available when planning a propeller flap.

Keywords: perforator pedicled propeller flap; smartphone; thermal imaging camera; thermography.

Publication types

  • Review