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Ischemia reperfusion injury (IRI) is characterised initially by restriction of oxygenated blood flow to an organ bed, resulting in tissue hypoxia and ischaemic injury, followed by further 'reperfusion' injury upon restoration of perfusion, with an influx of oxygen, inflammatory cells and generation of free radicals. The culmination is a complex interplay between cellular and biochemical processes involved in inflammation and coagulation, exhibited as the 'no re-flow' phenomenon. Under ideal circumstances, autologous free tissue transfer is performed with short ischemic times. However, there are certain clinical scenarios where the ischaemic period can be prolonged due to technical and non-technical factors. IRI is inevitable and can be possibly more pronounced in such cases. In these cases, there may be a role for plastic surgeons to adopt some of the anti-ischaemia reperfusion injury (IRI) practices used in solid organ transplantation (SOT). Knowledge of the current trends in SOT IRI reduction should be discussed by plastic surgeons to assess whether certain facets can be extrapolated into the plastic and reconstructive armamentarium. These can be applicable to more challenging microsurgical cases, including composite free tissue transfer. Three important aspects are discussed further in this editorial: (1) cold flushing, (2) machine perfusion and pharmacological manipulation. Ongoing research will need to study the impact these potential interventions will have on the acute complications but also in which subset of patients they would be most beneficial. This area is novel and exciting but cautious implementation is advised with careful scrutiny of future data.

Original publication




Journal article


J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg

Publication Date





20 - 22


Anticoagulants, Composite Tissue Allografts, Humans, Ischemic Preconditioning, Microsurgery, Organ Transplantation, Reperfusion, Reperfusion Injury