A paintable phosphorescent bandage for postoperative tissue oxygen assessment in DIEP flap reconstruction

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Science Advances  18 Dec 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 51, eabd1061
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abd1061


Flaps are common in plastic surgery to reconstruct large tissue defects in cases such as trauma or cancer. However, most tissue oximeters used for monitoring ischemia in postoperative flaps are bulky, wired devices, which hinder direct flap observation. Here, we present the results of a clinical trial using a previously untried paintable transparent phosphorescent bandage to assess the tissue’s partial pressure of oxygen (pO2). Statistical analysis revealed a strong relationship (P < 0.0001) between the rates of change of tissue oxygenation measured by the bandage and blood oxygen saturation (%stO2) readings from a standard-of-care ViOptix near-infrared spectroscopy oximeter. In addition, the oxygen-sensing bandage showed no adverse effects, proved easy handling, and yielded bright images across all skin tones with a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera. This demonstrates the feasibility of using phosphorescent materials to monitor flaps postoperatively and lays the groundwork for future exploration in other tissue oxygen sensing applications.

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