Indexed on: 20 Mar '19Published on: 19 Mar '19Published in: Plastic and reconstructive surgery. Global open
In free-flap reconstruction of the midface, options for the recipient artery are quite limited; the superficial temporal artery and the facial artery are the most commonly used arteries. We report our approach for the use of the angular artery (the terminal branch of the facial artery) as the recipient artery in free-flap reconstruction of the midface. Nine patients with midface defects underwent free-flap reconstructions using the angular artery as the recipient artery. Identification and marking of the facial artery were performed preoperatively using handheld Doppler ultrasound. The angular artery was located through an incision made on the side of the nose. When present, a vena comitans of the facial artery or any subcutaneous vein in the vicinity of the defect was used as the recipient vein. In other cases, the facial vein in the submandibular region was chosen as the recipient vein, using a vein graft. The average diameter of the angular artery was 0.9 mm (range, 0.7-1.0 mm). In all cases, arterial anastomosis was performed in an end-to-end fashion, and flaps survived completely. In 4 cases, a vein graft was used to bridge the pedicle vein and the facial vein. Although supermicrosurgical skills may be required for its anastomosis, the angular artery is an anatomically consistent artery, which is suitable for use as the recipient artery in free-flap reconstruction of the midface. Use of the angular artery as the recipient artery allows shorter flap pedicles and decreases the number of vein grafts necessary.