Acta Orthopaedica et Traumatologica Turcica

Lower extremity soft tissue reconstruction with free flap based on subscapular artery

AOTT 2011; 45: 100-108
DOI: 10.3944/AOTT.2011.2261
Read: 1071 Downloads: 881 Published: 07 February 2020

Objective: The purpose of our study was to evaluate the results of the reconstruction of the lower extremity defects with free flaps based on the subscapular artery. \r\nMethods: Between January, 1998 and December, 2008, 51 patients (mean age 26 years; 16 female and 35 male) presenting with a lower extremity defect underwent a reconstructive surgery with flaps based on the subscapular vascular system. Thirty-seven percent of the defects were located in the crus, 19% in the sole, 16% in the heel, and 14% in the dorsum of the foot. Eighty and a half percent of the patients had traffic-accident-related and 13.5% had burn-related tissue defects. \r\nResults: Fifty-three percent of the patients presenting with lower extremity defects underwent reconstruction with latissimus dorsi muscle flaps, 21% with free serratus muscle and/or fascia flaps, 14% with free parascapular fasciocutaneous flaps, and 12% with free combined latissimus muscle and serratus muscle and/or fascia flaps. Anastomoses of 80% of the patients were performed on their posterior tibial artery and accompanying veins and/or foot dorsal veins. End-to-end anastomosis was performed on 14 patients, while 35 patients received end-to-side anastomosis. Six patients were treated with cross free flaps, of which 4 received cross latissimus, 1 cross serratus, and 1 cross combined serratus and latissimus flaps. End-to-side anastomoses were performed on these patients on the cross-leg tibialis posterior artery. The cross-leg anastomosis was freed 4 weeks later. In the early period, venous occlusion was observed in 4 patients and arterial and venous occlusion was present in 1 patient. New anastomoses were performed in these patients. Partial necrosis was observed in 2 patients. The average follow-up period was 61 months. Pressure-related late ulcerative lesions developed in 4 patients. The lesions of these patients were repaired by debridement and primary suturing or partial thickness skin grafts. \r\nConclusion: The subscapular vascular system based flaps have an optimal vascularity once they are prepared with adequate pedicles, causing minimal donor site morbidity. These flaps are a safe and effective alternative in lower extremity reconstruction. On the other hand, in the absence of appropriate recipient vessels, single or combined cross-leg free flaps may provide successful repair.

ISSN 1017-995X EISSN 2589-1294