Vol 74, No 3 (2015)
Original article
Published online: 2015-09-02

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Significance of anatomical variations of the lateral circumflex femoral artery for the tensor fasciae latae flapping

A. Vuksanovic-Bozaric, N. Radojevic, D. Muhovic, M. Abramovic, M. Radunovic
DOI: 10.5603/FM.2015.0060
Pubmed: 26339822
Folia Morphol 2015;74(3):389-395.


The tensor fasciae latae (TFL) muscle is commonly used in plastic and reconstructive surgery as a transpositional or a free flap, in order to repair different kinds of defects. In most cases its vascularisation is provided by an ascending branch of lateral circumflex femoral artery (LCFA), which gives different numbers of branches and enters the TFL muscle in different manners. The represented study deals with the arterial vascularisation of the TFL muscle: the entrance of the vascular stalk branches; variations of the LCFA bifurcation’s angle; and the skin area of vascularisation. The study was performed on both lower limbs of a 100 foetal and 10 adult cadavers. The LCFA was injected with micropaque solution, afterwards fixed and preserved in 10% formalin solution. Microdissection was performed under magnifying glass and surgical microscope. Analysis of adult cadavers was performed to determine the skin area vascularised by perforating blood vessels from the TFL muscle, by injecting methylene-blue dye into the artery, prior to which all branches of the LCFA, besides the ascending branch, were ligated. The research of a 100 foetal cadavers showed that the LCFA with its ascending branch ensured the blood supply to the muscle. In 85% it gave two branches, the ascending and the descending one, with the angle of bifurcation circa 90o in 73% of cases. The ascending branch can give 0 or more terminal branches, or even form an arterial net. Skin area affected with dye ranged from 18 × 22 cm to 23 × 28 cm and is in positive correlation with the LCFA length and diameter. The understanding of the presented variations have an exceptional significance in planning and applying the TFL flap, especially free flap, in successful repairing and covering the defects, as well as in preventing postoperative complications.