The vascular territories (angiosomes) of the body: experimental study and clinical applications

Br J Plast Surg. 1987 Mar;40(2):113-41. doi: 10.1016/0007-1226(87)90185-8.


The blood supply to the skin and underlying tissues was investigated by ink injection studies, dissection, perforator mapping and radiographic analysis of fresh cadavers and isolated limbs. The results were correlated with previous regional studies done in this department. The blood supply is shown to be a continuous three-dimensional network of vessels not only in the skin but in all tissue layers. The anatomical territory of a source artery in the skin and deep tissues was found to correspond in most cases, giving rise to the angiosome concept. Arteries follow closely the connective tissue framework of the body. The primary supply to the skin is by direct cutaneous arteries which vary in calibre, length and density in different regions. This primary supply is reinforced by numerous small indirect vessels, which are "spent" terminal branches of arteries supplying the deep tissues. An average of 374 major perforators was plotted in each subject, revealing that there are still many more potential skin flaps. Our arterial roadmap of the body provides the basis for the logical planning of incisions and flaps. The angiosomes defined the tissues available for composite transfer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arteries / anatomy & histology
  • Blood Circulation
  • Cadaver
  • Coloring Agents
  • Connective Tissue / anatomy & histology
  • Humans
  • Models, Anatomic
  • Skin / blood supply*


  • Coloring Agents