J Reconstr Microsurg 2009; 25(7): 411-416
DOI: 10.1055/s-0029-1223849
© Thieme Medical Publishers

The Effect of Core Temperature on the Success of Free Tissue Transfer

J. Grant Thomson1 , Ryutaro Mine1 , Asad Shah2 , J. Alexander Palesty3 , Gevorg Yaghjyan4 , Syed Ahmed1 , Stéphane A. Braün5 , Ronald P. Chao1
  • 1Yale University School of Medicine–Surgery, New Haven, Connecticut
  • 2Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina
  • 3University of Connecticut School of Medicine–Surgery, Waterbury, Connecticut
  • 4Department of Reconstructive Microsurgery and Plastic Surgery, Yerevan State Medical University, Yerevan Armenia
  • 5Albany Medical College–Surgery, Albany, New York
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
19 May 2009 (online)


During free tissue transfer, much effort is made to keep patients normothermic. It is feared that hypothermia, which is common in patients having such operations, can induce vasospasm leading to stasis and ultimately thrombogenesis. The present study was undertaken to determine the effect of core body temperature on the survival of free flaps in an animal model. Rats were anesthetized with inhaled isoflurane and randomly assigned to one of the following four core temperature groups: 34°C, 35°C, 37°C, and 39°C (n = 10 animals per group). Bilateral groin free flaps were then performed (n = 20 flaps per group) while each animal was maintained at the temperature of its assigned group. Flap survival was evaluated on postoperative day 5 by a blinded observer. The best flap survival occurred in the 34°C group, with an overall flap survival rate of 95%. There was a statistical difference between the survival rate of the combined 34°C and 35°C group (survival rate 90%, n = 40) and the combined 37°C and 39°C group (survival rate 67.5%, n = 40; p = 0.027). Hypothermia may have a beneficial effect on the success of free tissue transfer.


J. Grant Thomson, M.D. 

Yale Plastic Surgery, P.O. Box 208041

New Haven, CT 06520-8041

Email: grant.thomson@yale.edu