The importance of engraftment in flap revascularization: Confirmation by laser speckle perfusion imaging

Paul G. McGuire, Thomas R. Howdieshell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Background: The delivery of proangiogenic agents in clinical trials of wound healing has produced equivocal results, the lack of real-time assessment of vascular growth is a major weakness in monitoring the efficacy of therapeutic angiogenesis, and surgical solutions fall short in addressing the deficiency in microvascular blood supply to ischemic wounds. Therefore, elucidation of the mechanisms involved in ischemia-induced blood vessel growth has potential diagnostic and therapeutic implications in wound healing. Materials and Methods: Three surgical models of wound ischemia, a cranial-based myocutaneous flap, an identical flap with underlying silicone sheeting to prevent engraftment, and a complete incisional flap without circulation were created on C57BL6 transgenic mice. Laser speckle contrast imaging was utilized to study the pattern of ischemia and return of revascularization. Simultaneous analysis of wound histology and microvascular density provided correlation of wound perfusion and morphology. Results: Creation of the peninsular-shaped flap produced a gradient of ischemia. Laser speckle contrast imaging accurately predicted the spatial and temporal pattern of ischemia, the return of functional revascularization, and the importance of engraftment in distal flap perfusion and survival. Histologic analysis demonstrated engraftment resulted in flap revascularization by new blood vessel growth from the recipient bed and dilatation of pre-existing flap vasculature. Conclusions: Further research utilizing this model of graded wound ischemia and the technology of laser speckle perfusion imaging will allow monitoring of the real-time restitution of blood flow for correlation with molecular biomarkers of revascularization in an attempt to gain further understanding of wound microvascular biology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e201-e212
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • angiogenesis
  • arteriogenesis
  • ischemia
  • laser speckle perfusion imaging
  • revascularization
  • wound healing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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