Open Access Research article

The study of expanded tri-lobed flap in a rabbit model: possible flap model in ear reconstruction?

Eray Copcu1*, Mesut Yazici2, Barlas Etensel2, Yakup Yüreklý3 and Muharrem Balkaya4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Medical Faculty, Adnan Menderes University, Aydin, TURKEY

2 Department of Pediatric Surgery, Medical Faculty, Adnan Menderes University, Aydin, TURKEY

3 Department of Nuclear Medicine, Medical Faculty, Adnan Menderes University, Aydin, TURKEY

4 Department of Physiology, Veterinary Faculty, Adnan Menderes University, Aydin, TURKEY

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BMC Surgery 2003, 3:13  doi:10.1186/1471-2482-3-13

Published: 16 December 2003



Local flaps are widely used in reconstructive surgery. Tri-lobed skin flap is a relatively new flap and there has been no experimental model of this flap. This flap can be used for repair of full thickness defects in the face, ears and alar region. Based on the size of ears in a rabbit, we designed a model of ear reconstruction using expanded tri-lobed flap. Local flaps are more advantageous in that they provide excellent color and texture matching up with those of the face, adequately restore ear contour, place scars in a favorable location and ideally accomplish these goals in a single stage with minimal donor site morbidity.


Eight adult New Zealand rabbits were divided into two groups. 50 ml round tissue expander were implanted to four rabbits. After completion of the expansion, a superiorly based tri-lobed flap was elevated and a new ear was created from the superior dorsal skin of each rabbit. Scintigraphy with Technetium-99m pertecnetate was performed to evaluate flap viability.


Subtotal flap necrosis was seen in all animals in non-expanded group. New ear in dimensions of the original ear was created in expanded group without complication. Perfusion and viability of the flaps were proved by Technetium-99m pertecnetate scintigraphy.


According to our knowledge this study is the first to demonstrate animal model in tri-lobed flap. Also, our technique is the first application of the trilobed flap to the possible ear reconstruction. We speculated that this flap may be used mastoid based without hair, in human. Also, tri-lobed flap may be an alternative in reconstruction of cylindrical organs such as penis or finger.