Since ischemia-reperfusion injury continues to be a major problem in reconstructive microsurgery, improvement of experimental models is still desirable. We developed a model that allows direct visualization of flap microcirculation in mice by intravital microscopic techniques. A newly designed skinfold chamber was installed on the dorsum of mice, and microcirculation was inspected with an intravital microscope. An island flap, nourished by the deep circumflex iliac arteries, was elevated after implantation of the chamber, allowing visualization of the microcirculation in the island flap. The island flap was exposed to global ischemia by clamping the pedicles, and the clamps were then released to allow reperfusion. Various microcirculatory responses induced by ischemia-reperfusion were visualized. This model accurately simulated the clinical situation in reconstructive surgery and successfully realized chronic visualization of the flap micro-circulation in vivo.
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