Introduction of the Vacuum-Assisted Closure (V.A.C.) system has revolutionized the approach to a multitude of clinical settings. Yet, its use precludes adequate clinical monitoring of skin-grafted free flaps, thus, making a reliable monitoring system essential if broad clinical application is aspired. In a clinical study, the usefulness of the combination of the V.A.C. and implantable Doppler probe was critically evaluated in patients with microsurgical lower extremity reconstruction. We retrospectively analyzed the usefulness of the implantable Doppler probe in five consecutive patients treated in our department from January to July 2007. Inclusion criteria were lower extremity reconstruction by means of skin-grafted free tissue transfers with subsequent application of the V.A.C. device. Five consecutive patients (four males, one female) with a mean age of 37.8 years (range, 8-58 years) matched the criteria mentioned above. Of note, the two pediatric patients (8-year-old male and 12-year-old female) suffered from significant posttraumatic stress disorder necessitating concomitant psychological care by the Department of Psychiatry. All flaps healed uneventfully displaying no signs of vascular compromise. Interpretation of the Doppler signal was simple and well received by the nursing staff. The combination of V.A.C. and the implantable Doppler probe enhances patient comfort due to a reduction of the number of dressing changes while still allowing continuous free flap monitoring. Interpretation of the signal transmitted by the probe is simple and potentially reduces misinterpretations due to different levels of experience.
View details for DOI 10.1002/micr.20512
View details for Web of Science ID 000259624400005
View details for PubMedID 18623161