Vascular anatomy of the anterolateral thigh flap

Kenichiro Kawai, Nobuaki Imanishi, Hideo Nakajima, Sadakazu Aiso, Masao Kakibuchi, Ko Hosokawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


Arterial and venous anatomy and their relation to the anterolateral thigh flap were examined in 10 specimens of six fresh cadavers in which radiopaque materials were injected into both the arterial and venous systems. Territories and positions of individual perforating arteries were measured, and the venous drainage pathway of the flap was analyzed. All specimens were radiographed stereoscopically to observe the three-dimensional structure of the arteries and veins. The territory of each perforating artery was smaller than expected. Most of the venous blood that had perfused the dermis was considered to pool in a polygonal venous network located in the skin layer and to enter the descending branch of the lateral circumflex femoral artery through large descending veins. The venous territories were considered different from the arterial territories. The findings in this study suggest that the design of the anterolateral thigh flap should be based on the venous architecture rather than on the arterial architecture and that the flap survival rate might be improved if thinning is performed appropriately.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1108-1117
Number of pages10
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Oct
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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