The purpose of this study was to analyze the fasciocutaneous arterial circulation of the lower extremity to provide a quantitative guide to design reliable fasciocutaneous flaps. Thirty-one fresh cadaver limbs were studied using the techniques of dissection of latex injected specimens, selective ink injections, and barium latex radiographs. Fasciocutaneous perforator locations were recorded according to fascial septum of origin and distance relative to bony landmarks between the knee and the ankle. Selective ink injections of the trifurcation vessels identified four anterior tibial, three peroneal, and three posterior tibial fasciocutaneous territories. Although perforator site locations were randomly distributed along the trifurcation vessel within any vascular territory, the separate cutaneous regions that make up the fasciocutaneous territories occur in predictable locations with a measurable standard deviation. The transverse section radiographs confirmed the transverse dimensions of the vascular territories. Additionally, the summation of any two vascular territories calculated from the anatomical data conforms to the clinically observed 2.5:1 to 3:1 length-towidth ratios for fasciocutaneous flap viability as reported by Pontén and by Barclay et al. This study provides a quantitative anatomical framework using primary fasciocutaneous vascular territories to design potentially reliable fasciocutaneous flaps in the lower extremity. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 100: 1172, 1997.)
From the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, University of California, Davis, Medical Center. Received for publication June 19, 1996; revised September 23, 1996.
Winner of the Essay Scholarship Award for the 1994 Plastic Surgery Educational Foundation Scholarship Contest.
Presented at the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons Annual Meeting, San Diego, California, 1994.
Thomas P. Whetzel, M.D.
Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
University of California, Davis, Medical Center
4301 X Street, Room 2430
Sacramento, Calif. 95817