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Abstract

White light spectroscopy non-invasively measures hemoglobin saturation at the capillary level rendering an end-organ measurement of perfusion. We hypothesized this technology could be used after microvascular surgery to allow for early detection of ischemia and thrombosis. The Spectros T-Stat monitoring device, which utilizes white light spectroscopy, was compared with traditional flap monitoring techniques including pencil Doppler and clinical exam. Data were prospectively collected and analyzed. Results from 31 flaps revealed a normal capillary hemoglobin saturation of 40–75% with increase in saturation during the early postoperative period. One flap required return to the operating room 12 hours after microvascular anastomosis. The T-stat system recorded an acute decrease in saturation from ∼50% to less than 30% 50 min prior to identification by clinical exam. Prompt treatment resulted in flap salvage. The Spectros T-Stat monitor may be a useful adjunct for free flap monitoring providing continuous, accurate perfusion assessment postoperatively. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Microsurgery, 2013.