Monday, February 15, 2010

What is the difference between a graft or a flap?

There appears to be a lot of confusion between these two terms as I have often heard my medical and nursing colleagues use these words interchangeably. In many respects, they are related, however, they are completely different in their intrinsic properties and surgical technique.

A graft or a flap can be made up of the exact same tissue type-- that is, it can be skin, fat, tendon, bone, nerve, etc. The key difference is that a flap has its own blood supply, and that a graft does not, and therefore requires a good vascular bed for it to survive. We have often heard of the terms skin graft, or bone graft. These tissues are harvested from their specific locations which can afford to give up a part of their architecture. The place that the area has "donated" its tissue is called the donor site. Once the donor site has been harvested, the skin or the bone can be placed in the new area for the body to accept this tissue and eventually grow into it with new blood vessels and adjacent cells. This is why the bed, the accepting area for the graft, is so important to be prepared well. The graft can only survive well when it can be nourished by a good blood supply.




A flap has the additional advantage that it has its own intrinsic blood supply, allowing it to be transferred or transplanted to another area of the body with much less reliance upon the surrounding tissue bed. This does not mean that the surrounding bed should not be well prepared, ie debrided. It simply means that the accepting area will unlikely lead to graft survival and that designing tissue with its own blood supply is the only way for that tissue type to actually survive in the area. Because a flap has its own blood supply, the surgical technique to harvest and to move this tissue is much more complex. The surgeon has to dissect not only the block of tissue to be moved, but also the blood vessels (artery,vein) that feed the tissue block. This makes the flap an extremely powerful tool in reconstructive surgery. It is also a tool that requires significantly more surgical technique, planning, and time to make it successful.

It is understandable why there might be confusion between these two concepts because of their relationship to each other. However, the complexity and time factor between these two concepts is so significantly different that we should not pass over this as simple semantics.

22 comments:

morally speaking said...

It is extremely informative with diagrams but is plastic surgery and flap same or not OR if it is not the same then what is the difference between skin grafting and plastic surgery and why is it called plastic surgery and is there some mixing of plastic or synthetic skin; the blog is silent on these aspects.

Dr GUNASEKAR VUPPALAPATI said...

Your Text is giving innovation Ideas about Aesthetic world. Nowadays People like Bangalore city want luxury and modern life style. In this luxury and Modern life style you have to maintain your figure and health properly. Any dissimilar problem creates mentality tension so for that you have to get touch with Aesthetic specialist doctors… Contact Dr GvG for Cosmetic Surgery Bangalore, Aesthetic Specialist Doctors in Bangalore.

new source said...

Flap surgery is a technique in plastic and reconstructive surgery where any type of tissue is lifted from a donor site and moved to a recipient site with an intact blood supply.

Cosmeticsurgery BangaloreIndia said...

Thus Cosmetic surgery offers people a chance to enhance their personality and self esteem.Cosmetic surgery offers a chance for people to change their appearance and enhance their self esteem.
Rhinoplasty in Bangalore

Timon berg said...

Your articles are very well written and unique.
labiaplasty michigan

Jullia Grace said...

I was getting bore since morning but as soon as I got this link & reached at this blog, I turned into fresh and also joyful too.dating tips for women

Alsia timon said...

You create sense out of the foremost complex topics. payday loans no credit check

w.feleke said...

Thanks Dr. Charles! I am not confused and used interchangeable these two words more. Clear and informative article!!

Roney Wilson said...

Every week-end I used to pay a fast visit this site, because I’d like enjoyment, because this web site conations certainly fussy material. http://www.cosmeticspecialist.ca

sam raj said...

Thank you Dr.Charles for explaining this difference between a flap and a graft in a very simple manner.I am a student of Maxillofacial surgery and your article removes the confusion in this area.

Dr.Sam Raj G


Sheena Martin said...

That’s a nice site you people are carrying out there. Belvedere Clinic

smith mak said...

The post is utterly fantastic! Countless of great details and encouragement both of that everyone really needs!
payday loans direct lenders

Justin Bieber said...

Continue the good work; keep posting more n more n more.easy payday loans

Anonymous said...

Of course, what a superb site with wonderful posts, enlightening issues has been discussed I like it. auto insurance quote

Chris Pratt said...

This is one of the most important blogs that I have seen, keep it up!whole life insurance

Anonymous said...

I agree. You have made the nice blogs with the great info in the contents.generators 2016

Louisa Revista said...

This is my very first time that I am visiting here and I’m truly pleasurable to see everything at one place
Unit Link Commonwealth Life - Commonwealth Life - Review Commonwealth Life

john cena said...

Thanks meant for sharing this type of satisfying opinion, written piece is fastidious, that’s why I’ve read it completely.allstate vs safeco insurance

Mitcheal Clerk said...

Good blog along with the excellent quality stuff and I’m sure this will be greatly helpful.Businessman

Umar Farooq said...

hmm..What is the difference between free flap and a graft?

Tom Cruise said...

This article is actually remarkable one it helps many new users that desire to read always the best stuff.
health

Bronwen seo said...

Hey enormous stuff or pleasant information you are offering here.
Age Spots on Face