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Reverse flow anterolateral thigh free flap in a case with significant atherosclerosis: A viable alternative for arterial microvascular anastomosis.

Head & Neck 2024 April 13
BACKGROUND: The concept of reserve flow perfusion for free flap reconstruction has been demonstrated in various applications in the literature. As it relates to the anterolateral thigh (ALT) free flap, the reserve flow principle has been primarily described to either augment or "supercharge" a large ALT to optimize skin perforator supply or lengthen the vascular pedicle.

METHODS: We report a case of a 77-year old male with chronic renal failure who had extensive atherosclerosis of the proximal descending lateral circumflex femoral artery (LCFA) where arterial anastomosis was unable to be performed.

RESULTS: We were able to circumvent this limitation by establishing reserve flow perfusion solely through the distal end of the descending LCFA. We describe our technique within the context of current literature on the topic of reverse flow perfusion in free flap reconstruction.

CONCLUSION: This report uniquely describes applying the distally based, reverse arterial flow principle in an ALT flap to circumvent an atherosclerotic proximal pedicle.

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