Monckeberg’s arteriosclerosis: Vascular calcification complicating microvascular surgery (2015)

Type of publication:
Journal article

*Castling B., *Bhatia S., *Ahsan F.

International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, January 2015, vol./is. 44/1(34-36)

Monckeberg’s arteriosclerosis is often an incidental finding, identified either clinically or on plain radiography. It can occasionally be associated with diabetes mellitus or chronic kidney disease. It differs from the more common atherosclerosis in that the tunica intima remains largely unaffected and the diameter of the vessel lumen is preserved. Despite such vessels appearing hard and pulseless throughout their affected length, they deliver relatively normal distal perfusion, indeed there is often a bounding pulse at the end of the calcified zone. They appear unremarkable on magnetic resonance angiography but visibly calcified on plain radiography. Monckeberg’s arteriosclerosis has a prevalence of < 1% of the population, but when it does occur it can cause consternation at the prospect of using these vessels for microvascular anastamosis. We report our experience of deliberately using these vessels in an osseocutaneous radial forearm free flap reconstruction. Although there are some technical considerations to bear in mind, we would suggest that unlike vessels affected by atherosclerosis, anastomosis of arteries affected by Monckeberg’s arteriosclerosis has little or no impact on free flap survival.