Postoperative monitoring of free flaps remains an essential component of care in patients undergoing microsurgical reconstructive surgery. Early recognition of vascular problems and prompt surgical intervention improve the chances for flap salvage. Physical examination remains the cornerstone of free flap monitoring, but more recently, additional technologies have been developed for this purpose. In this article, current approaches to free flap monitoring are reviewed.
Albert H. Chao, MD, is Assistant Professor in the Department of Plastic Surgery at Ohio State University and a board-certified plastic surgeon with specialty training in microvascular surgery. His clinical practice focuses on oncologic reconstruction and microsurgery, and his research interests include patient outcomes and the role of technology.
Susan Lamp, BSN, RN, CPSN, has been a plastic surgery nurse for the past 20 years working with the Department of Plastic Surgery at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. She currently serves on the PSN Journal Editorial Board and the Plastic Surgical Nursing Certification Board.
Address correspondence to Albert H. Chao, MD, Department of Plastic Surgery, The Ohio State University, 915 Olentangy River Road, Suite 2100, Columbus, OH 43212 (e-mail: Albert.Chao@osumc.edu).
The authors report no conflicts of interest.