The blood supply of the reverse temporalis muscle flap: Anatomic study and clinical implications

Chien Tzung Chen, Jack B. Robinson, Rod J. Rohrich, Mona Ansari

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Abstract

Although the reverse temporalis muscle flap has been used clinically, the exact vascular connection between the superficial and deep temporal vessels has not been clearly defined. The purpose of this study was to investigate the vascular territory of the reverse temporalis muscle supplied by the superficial temporal vessels. Six cadaver heads were studied using a colored lead oxide injection through the superficial temporal artery. The specimens were examined macroscopically and radiographically. The reverse temporalis muscle flap was then applied to a clinical case presenting with traumatic anterior skull base defect communicating with the nasal cavity. The cadaver specimens demonstrated that the superficial temporal artery formed an average 1.3 ± 0.2 cm in width of dense vascular zone, which was located within 1.8 cm below the superior temporal line. The dense vascular network further perfused the anterior and posterior deep temporal arteries and the muscular branch of the middle temporal artery to supply the temporalis muscle. The mean perfused area of the temporalis muscle was 83 percent, ranging from 79 to 89 percent, in five cadaver heads. One cadaver revealed only 55 percent of perfused area in the absence of the muscular branch of the middle temporal artery. The consistent area without perfusion was located in the distal third of the posterior portion of the reverse temporalis muscle. In clinical cases, the reverse temporalis muscle flap was used successfully to obliterate the anterior skull base defect without evidence of muscle flap necrosis. The exact blood supply to the distal third of the posterior portion of the reverse temporalis muscle flap needs to be investigated further in vivo. Particular attention was paid to the inclusion of the muscular branch of the middle temporal artery in this flap to augment the blood supply to the temporalis muscle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1181-1188
Number of pages8
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Volume103
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1999

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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