Definition - What does Free Flap mean?
A free flap, also known as free autologous tissue transfer or microvascular free tissue transfer, is a piece of tissue that is transplanted from one area of the body to another for the reconstruction of an existing defect. "Free" is used because, unlike other types of flap, the tissue, in this case, is completely cut off from the blood circulation at the donor site and eventually transplanted to another part of the body (recipient site), where the blood supply is re-established.
TheConsultation explains Free Flap
Free flaps are used by various surgical specialties. There is a wide range of tissues that may be used as a free flap, such as skin or fat, muscle, nerve, bone, cartilage, lymph nodes and intestinal segments. As an example, part of the great toe or the second toe is often transplanted to the hand for the reconstruction of the thumb.
In every free flap, the blood circulation is restored through micro-surgical methods in order to re-establish both the arterial supply and the venous drainage.