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Biomedical Engineering

Spectrophotometric techniques for the assessment of tissue perfusion in plastic surgery

Principle investigator

Professor P. A. Kyriacou


Dr M. Hickey


Professor R. M. Langford and Ms H. Patel, St Bartholomew’s Hospital

Mr P. Harris, The Royal Marsden Hospital

Professor S. K. Pal, St Andrew’s Centre for Plastic Surgery & Burns, Broomfield Hospital

Project overview

Early identification of flap failure in plastic surgery is an indispensable prerequisite for flap salvage. Although many methods of free flap monitoring are available, there is still no single reliable non-invasive technique for early recognition of flap failure and for differentiation between arterial occlusion and venous congestion. Experimental measurements taken by non-invasive devices can give insight into the flap perfusion mechanism. Therefore, to address the above issues, we propose the development of new non-invasive opto-electronic measuring techniques and in vivo measurements in patients undergoing free flap plastic microsurgery. The project will contribute towards the better monitoring and management of free flaps and is therefore of direct relevance to the patients. The generated knowledge from this project will be of great interest to anaesthesiologists, plastic surgeons and physiologists. The medical instrumentation developments carried out in this project are also of interest to those involved in bio-instrumentation and medical optics.