Computed tomographic angiography (CTA) can be used to obtain 3-dimensional vascular images and soft-tissue definition. The goal of this study was to evaluate the reliability, usefulness, and pitfalls of CTA in preoperative planning of microvascular reconstructive surgery.A retrospective review of patients who obtained preoperative CTA in preparation for planned microvascular reconstruction was performed over a 5-year period (2001-2005). The influence of CTA on the original operative plan was assessed for each patient, and CTA results were correlated to the operative findings.Computed tomographic angiography was performed on 94 patients in preparation for microvascular reconstruction. In 48 patients (51%), vascular abnormalities were noted on CTA. Intraoperative findings correlated with CTA results in 97% of cases. In 42 patients (45%), abnormal CTA findings influenced the original operative plan, such as the choice of vessels, side of harvest, or nature of the reconstruction (local flap instead of free tissue transfer). Technical difficulties in performing CTA were encountered in 5 patients (5%) in whom interference from external fixation devices was the main cause.This large study of CTA obtained for preoperative planning of reconstructive microsurgery at both donor and recipient sites study demonstrates that CTA is safe and highly accurate. Computed tomographic angiography can alter the surgeon's reconstructive plan when abnormalities are noted preoperatively and consequently improve results by decreasing vascular complication rates. The use of CTA should be considered for cases of microsurgical reconstruction where the vascular anatomy may be questionable.
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