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Proceedings Paper

In situ monitoring of surgical flap viability using THz imaging (Conference Presentation)

Paper Abstract

This paper explores the utility of reflective THz imaging to assess the viability of surgical flaps. Flap surgery is a technique where tissue is harvested from a donor site and moved to a recipient while keeping the blood supply intact. This technique is common in head and neck tumor resection surgery where the reconstruction of complex and sensitive anatomic structures is routine following the resection of large and/or invasive tumors. Successful flap surgery results in tissue that is sufficiently perfused with both blood and extracellular water. If insufficient fluid levels are maintained, the flap tissue becomes necrotic and must be excised immediately to prevent infection developing and spreading to the surrounding areas. The goal of this work is to investigate the hydration of surgical flaps and correlate image features to successful graft outcomes. Advancement flaps were created on the abdomens of rat models. One rat model was labeled control and care was taken to ensure a successful flap outcome. The flap on the second rat was compromised with restricted blood flow and allowed to fail. The flaps of both rats were imaged once a day over the course of a week at which point the compromised flap had begun to show signs of necrosis. Significant differences in tissue water content were observed between rats over the experimental period. The results suggest that THz imaging may enable early assessment of flap viability.

Paper Details

Date Published: 3 May 2016
PDF: 1 pages
Proc. SPIE 9706, Optical Interactions with Tissue and Cells XXVII, 97060A (3 May 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2218572
Show Author Affiliations
Neha Bajwa, Ctr. for Advanced Surgical and Interventional Technology (United States)
Shijun Sung, Ctr. for Advanced Surgical and Interventional Technology (United States)
Warren Grundfest, Ctr. for Advanced Surgical and Interventional Technology (United States)
Zachary Taylor, Ctr. for Advanced Surgical and Interventional Technology (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9706:
Optical Interactions with Tissue and Cells XXVII
E. Duco Jansen, Editor(s)

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