Research Article| Volume 60, ISSUE 6, P593-606, June 2007

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Forehead anatomy: Arterial variations and venous link of the midline forehead flap

  • Wayne George Kleintjes
    Suite 1008, Louis Leipoldt Medi-clinic, Bellville, Cape Town, Western Cape 7530, South Africa. Tel./fax: +27 21 9489845.
    University of Stellenbosch, Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, University of Stellenbosch Medical School, South Africa
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Published:February 09, 2007DOI:


      The largest prospective cadaver study done over a 3-year period to investigate the arterial variations of the forehead is presented. The primary goal was to find anatomical support for various forehead flaps previously designed.
      Thirty cadaver foreheads (60 hemi-foreheads) were dissected from deep to superficial to identify arterial variations. The arteries were filled with a latex solution prior to dissection.
      The results show that the supratrochlear and dorsal nasal arteries have a relatively constant origin. Vertical (VB), oblique (OB), medial (MB) and lateral branches (LB) of the supraorbital artery were identified. The frontal branch of the superficial temporal artery (FBSTA) was found to continue in the direction of the scalp at the lateral orbital rim vertical line and gave off a transverse branch, the transverse frontal artery (TFA), to supply the forehead. The oblique branch of the supraorbital artery (OBSOA) most often anastomosed with either the transverse frontal artery or the frontal branch of the superficial temporal artery at the lateral orbital rim vertical line. A central artery (CA) was consistently found originating from the dorsal nasal artery usually 5 mm from its origin. The central artery had a constant anastomosis with the opposite central artery in the inferior transverse third of the forehead. The central artery was not easily identifiable in the superior third of the forehead.
      The angular artery (AA) was found to have a variable termination. The angular artery could communicate with the supratrochlear artery (STrA) at the supraorbital rim (SOR) or it could continue up into the forehead medial to the STrA. This artery was called the paracentral artery (PCA).
      The central artery, paracentral artery and supratrochlear artery have an important relationship with the most prominent central vein that is relevant to flap construction.
      The significance of the central artery and vein favours the median forehead flap as anatomically superior and the prominent central vein is a constant landmark on which to select the side of the pedicle. Clear landmarks for defining the pedicle base for the median forehead flap are provided.


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