The vascular anatomy of the lower anterior abdominal wall: a microdissection study on the deep inferior epigastric vessels and the perforator branches

Hamdy H El-Mrakby, Richard H Milner
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 2002, 109 (2): 539-43; discussion 544-7
The deep inferior epigastric artery provides the main blood supply to the lower abdominal wall. Microdissection of the artery, its main branches, and the perforator vessels was undertaken in 20 cadavers. The artery was found to be associated with two veins in most of the cases (90 percent). The lateral division of the deep inferior epigastric artery and the perforator vessels it gives are more dominant (80 percent of cases) than the medial perforators (20 percent of cases). The lateral perforators were greater in number (80) and more consistent than those that arose from the medial division (28). The musculocutaneous perforators are the most important perforators supplying the anterior abdominal wall. An average of 5.4 large perforators (>0.5 mm in diameter) were dissected in each case. These perforators are mostly contained in the area lying laterally and below the umbilicus, with an average distance of 4 cm from the umbilicus. The musculocutaneous perforators may have a direct or indirect course. Larger perforators (>0.5 mm in diameter) were found to have a direct course through the subcutaneous fat to the skin. Smaller perforators do not reach the skin but terminate at the level of the deep fat layer by branching after piercing the rectus sheath. The direct perforator vessels with their associated veins (microdissection) keep a consistent diameter before dividing at the subdermal level and end by contributing to the subdermal plexus.

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