SUMMARY:: A thorough understanding of vascular biology will assist the reconstructive surgeon in both operative planning and development of novel surgical approaches to treat chronic wounds and tissue loss, and to optimize regenerative strategies for tissue reconstruction. In this review, several fundamental concepts of the basic science of vascular biology are discussed, with specific emphasis on the clinical implications most relevant to the reconstructive surgeon. Topics include the vascular physiology of tissue flaps and grafts, the principles of neovascularization including angiogenesis and vasculogenesis, and the basic concepts of bioengineering of vascularized tissue constructs for use in reconstruction. As basic science research increases our collective understanding of vascular physiology-specifically, in the areas of neovascularization and tissue engineering-reconstructive surgeons will be able to improve treatment of the sequelae of ischemic injuries, tissue loss, and chronic wounds.
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