Quantitative assessment of partial vascular occlusions in a swine pedicle flap model
using spatial frequency domain imaging
The use of tissue transfer flaps has become a common and effective technique for reconstructing or replacing damaged tissue. While the overall failure rate associated with these procedures is relatively low (5-10%), the failure rate of tissue flaps that require additional surgery is significantly higher (40-60%). The reason for this is largely due to the absence of a technique for objectively assessing tissue health after surgery. Here we have investigated spatial frequency domain imaging (SFDI) as a potential tool to do this. By projecting wide-field patterned illumination at multiple wavelengths onto a tissue surface, SFDI is able to quantify absolute concentrations of oxygenated and deoxygenated hemoglobin over a large field of view. We have assessed the sensitivity of SFDI in a swine pedicle flap model by using a controlled vascular occlusion system that reduced blood flow by 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100% of the baseline values in either the vein or artery. SFDI was able to detect significant changes for oxygenated hemoglobin, deoxygenated hemoglobin, or tissue oxygen saturation in partial arterial occlusions of at least 50% and partial venous occlusions of at least 25%. This shows SFDI is sensitive enough to quantify changes in the tissue hemoglobin state during partial occlusions and thus has the potential to be a powerful tool for the early prediction of tissue flap failure.