Indocyanine green angiography (ICGA) is a useful tool for the visual assessment of superficial blood flow. Herein, we used ICGA to visualize perforator branches and linking vessels to provide a road map for flap design of an expanded flap. Twenty-eight expansions were planned to use back-cut technique in 26 patients.

ICGA was used to visualize perforator branching pattern with the linking vessels and the venous network in the expanded flap before expander explantation. The appropriate perforator was selected, and the flap was designed following the axiality of its branch linked by true anastomoses. The vein running closely was chosen as the axial vein. The back cut was designed to avoid transection of the axial artery and vein. Patient demographics, defect characteristics, and reconstructive outcomes were assessed.

ICGA clearly visualized the perforator branches and the linking vessels in the expanded flap at the head and neck, trunk, and extremity. The back-cut flap containing the axial artery and vein was raised successfully in 27 expansions. The arterial perforator and superficial vein separated greatly and resulted in design modification from back-cut to advancement flap in one expansion. All expanded flaps met the reconstructive needs and exhibited complete survival.

ICGA allowed the visualization of the preoperative topography of the vascular network in the expanded flap and helped surgeons locate the vascular axis and perform an appropriate back-cut design for efficient and safe flap transfer.

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