Immediate Emergency Free Anterolateral Thigh Flap Transfer for the Mutilated Upper Extremity

Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Chang Gung Medical College and Chang Gung University, Taipei, Taiwan.
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (Impact Factor: 3.33). 07/2009; 123(6):1739-47. DOI: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e3181a65b00
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Immediate emergency free flaps are defined as flaps performed directly following emergency surgery due to the exposure of major reconstructed arteries, major nerves, bones, and tendons. The authors document their experience in using free anterolateral thigh flaps in the immediate reconstruction of complex upper extremity injuries.
From January of 2000 to October of 2006, 12 patients ranging from 10 to 59 years old with complicated upper extremity traumatic injuries were treated with immediate emergency free anterolateral thigh flap transfers. These flaps were performed to cover the exposed vital structures. Flap sizes ranged from 30 x 15 to 8 x 6 cm. A variety of flap designs were used, including six flow-through flaps for upper limb revascularization and three tensor fasciae latae components for gliding planes of exposed repaired tendons. The operative times ranged from 7.2 to 12.1 hours, with an average operative time of about 9.6 hours. The hospital stay was from 13 to 34 days, with average stay of about 27.7 days.
All of the flaps survived. No re-exploration was required. Partial flap necrosis occurred in only one case. Traumatized wound infection occurred in three patients.
The anterolateral thigh flap has been popularized as the versatile flap for soft-tissue reconstruction. It has many advantages, including long pedicle length, large skin territory, flow-though and chimeric concept design, a two-team approach, and no need for changing the position. Thus, it is suitable as the immediate emergency flap for upper extremity salvage.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Trauma is one of the main causes of upper- and lower-limb defects. Limb injuries frequently result in complex defects, hence reconstruction can be demanding. The basic principles of trauma management and methods of reconstruction are analyzed. Then, the evolution of free tissue transfer is reviewed with particular attention to the use of anterolateral thigh flap in reconstruction of upper- and lower-limb trauma cases. The anterolateral thigh flap is the workhorse flap in our department due to its versatility in the reconstruction of complex defects. Finally, the concept of free-style perforator flaps is presented. Microsurgery has supplied the armamentarium of the plastic surgeon with a very powerful tool. Essentially, microsurgery may almost always provide a solution in cases of complex defects that cannot be covered with the simpler options of the reconstructive ladder. The recently acquired perforator flap concept will gradually become the most popular method of microsurgical reconstruction, as it minimizes donor-site morbidity and replaces "like tissue with like tissue."
    Seminars in Plastic Surgery 02/2010; 24(1):34-42. DOI:10.1055/s-0030-1253244
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The anterolateral thigh (ALT) flap represents a workhorse flap in reconstructive surgery. We describe our clinical experience with this flap in the pediatric population. A total of 20 patients with an average age of 9.5 years underwent a free ALT flap reconstruction. All flaps were commonly raised on 2 perforators. About 5 flaps were employed for head and neck reconstruction, 7 for upper and 8 for lower limb reconstruction. Traumatic defects and congenital malformations represented the predominant etiology. Sizable perforators were found in all patients. The caliber was smaller compared to adults, and the course of the perforator was shorter. There were no complete flap losses and no significant donor-site morbidity. Donor-site closure required closure with split-thickness skin grafts in 6 cases. Hypertrophic scars developed in 4 patients. Secondary procedures included flap debulking (5) and Z-plasties (2). In conclusion, children have well-developed perforators supplying the ALT flap. With proper technique, this flap can be harvested and employed safely and reliably for reconstruction of varied defects in children.
    Annals of plastic surgery 02/2011; 66(2):143-7. DOI:10.1097/SAP.0b013e3181e35e38 · 1.46 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In the past 50 years, hand surgeons have made considerable contributions to microsurgery. The unique demands of complex upper extremity care have driven many of the technical and scientific advances of this discipline, including functional muscle transfers, nerve transfers, and composite tissue allotransplantation. The purpose of this article was to review the current applications of microsurgery to the upper extremity. (J Hand Surg 2011;36A:1092-1103. Copyright (C) 2011 by the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. All rights reserved.)
    The Journal of hand surgery 06/2011; 36(6):1092-103; quiz 1103. DOI:10.1016/j.jhsa.2011.03.038 · 1.66 Impact Factor
Show more