This study is addressed to define postoperative pattern of blood flow in free microvascular flaps by using a laser Doppler flowmetry (LDF) and to reveal effects of the prostaglandin E1 (PGE1) administration on the blood flow. Postoperative blood flows in the flaps were monitored with LDF in 14 patients, who were administrated PGE1 twice a day for 7 days after the operation. The average blood flow rates in the flaps gradually increased after the operation, reached peak at 7 days after the operation, and then become stable until 21 days after the operation. After the PGE1 administration, the blood flow rates in all of the patients increased within 15. min and reached the peak between 75. min and 105. min. These results suggest that PGE1 is useful to increase the blood flow in the flap. Furthermore, the present study revealed these postoperative patterns of the changes in the blood flow in the flaps, careful monitoring of the flaps with LDF as performed in the present study will provide significant information to identify a disturbance of circulation in the flaps as soon as possible.
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