The rat is a good model for experimental studies on the haemodynamic patterns of free-flap transfer but models involving the superficial epigastric vein have not been supported by the demonstration of the anatomical presence or absence of valves inside it. We performed a morphological study to assess whether or not valves are present inside the superficial epigastric vein of the rat. Segments of superficial epigastric veins were explanted from fifteen Sprague-Dawley rats. The lumen was studied with scanning electron microscopy after longitudinal or transverse incision of the venous walls. No valves were detected and we saw no evidence of their accidental removal. As most human veins do have valves, the clinical implications of haemodynamic data on reverse-flow island flaps obtained in rats must be considered very carefully.
- Venous valves
ASJC Scopus subject areas