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An Improved Perforator–Based Island Flap

The Heart Balloon Flap

Kim, Jeong Tae M.D., Ph.D.; Ho, Samuel Yew Ming M.B.B.S., M.Med.; Kim, Youn Hwan M.D., Ph.D.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: May 2015 - Volume 135 - Issue 5 - p 1472–1475
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000001153
Reconstructive: Trunk: Ideas and Innovations
Coding Perspective

Background: Reconstructive surgery has entered a “perforator flap era” with more surgeons performing successful perforator flap procedures. The perforator-based island flap is an extension of this perforator concept and one of the most successful. In perforator-rich or -reliable areas, this allows for primary closure of the donor site and the construction of highly customized flaps with little tissue waste.

Methods: The authors present a design modification of the perforator-based island flap used in 73 patients who underwent heart balloon perforator-based island flap reconstruction between 2008 and 2012.

Results: There were no reported cases of total flap necrosis. Marginal necrosis of the flap was noted in three cases, which resolved with simple dressings. The donor sites were closed primarily in all cases.

Conclusions: The heart balloon perforator-based island flap enables tension-free closure of the donor site, reduces donor-site complications, and minimizes tissue waste. The resulting shape resembles a heart and gives rise to the flap’s name. Key principles for success are perforators close to the defect, a flap axis that allows for primary donor-site closure, flap border adjacent to the defect that is smaller than the postresection defect, flap harvest until an adequate arc of rotation is obtained, primary closure of the donor site before flap inset, and preservation of a triangular area between the proximal apex of the flap and the defect.


Seoul, Korea; and Singapore

From the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, College of Medicine, Hanyang University, and the Section of Plastic, Reconstructive, and Aesthetic Surgery, Department of General Surgery, Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

Received for publication September 16, 2014; accepted October 24, 2014.

Disclosure: The authors have no financial interest to declare in relation to the content of this article.

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Samuel Yew Ming Ho, M.B.B.S., M.Med., Section of Plastic, Reconstructive, and Aesthetic Surgery, Department of General Surgery, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, 11 Jalan Tan Tock Seng, Singapore 308433, Republic of Singapore,

©2015American Society of Plastic Surgeons