We discuss the preoperative application of computed tomographic (CT) angiography to identify legs suitable for free fibular flaps.
Methods: The condition of 118 consecutive patients was prospectively evaluated by means of CT angiography for planned free fibula flap reconstructions. We retrospectively investigated whether fibular free flap transfer was performed in candidate patients and whether the presence of postoperative foot ischemia had been followed.
Results: Multidetector row CT angiography demonstrated a normal arterial anatomy in 82 patients, anatomical variants in 30 patients, and peripheral arterial occlusive disease in 6 patients. The radiologists selected 20 legs as major variants that cannot ensure lower extremity viability after flap harvest. Sixty-three patients underwent fibula free flap transfer. The surgeons followed our imaging diagnosis and selected healthy legs as candidates for fibular free transfer in all but 2 patients. No postoperative foot ischemia presented in any patient.
Conclusions: Computed tomographic angiography is a reliable preoperative imaging technique for the selection of appropriate legs as candidates for fibular free transfer.