Outcomes and Application of the Subunit Principle to 165 Foot and Ankle Free Tissue Transfers

Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, United States
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (Impact Factor: 2.99). 12/2009; 125(3):924-34. DOI: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e3181cc9630
Source: PubMed


Free tissue transfer to the lower extremity has become a well-established reconstructive modality. The purpose of this study was to develop a "subunit" approach to patients undergoing free tissue transfer for foot and ankle wounds to help further define subunit-specific functional and aesthetic operative goals.
The institutional review board approved this retrospective review of 161 patients who underwent free tissue transplantation for foot and ankle wounds between March 1, 1997, and February 28, 2007, at a single institution. Endpoints included flap-related complications, secondary surgery, time to ambulation, flap stability, and limb salvage.
The most common types of wounds treated were trauma-related [n = 120 (75 percent)], diabetes-related [n = 24 (15 percent)], and oncologic defects [n = 8 (5 percent)]. Ten different donor sites were used for reconstruction, with the latissimus dorsi flap being the most common. The mean follow-up time was 26.9 months (range, 0.5 to 130 months). Mean time to ambulation was 3.1 months (range, 0.75 to 14 months). Overall, 11 percent of patients required revision surgery for flap instability at a mean time of 25.3 months after flap surgery. Wounds located over the heel (subunit 5) were most likely to develop instability (Fisher's exact test, p < 0.05). The overall 5-year limb salvage rate as determined by Kaplan-Meier analysis was 89 percent.
The use of free tissue transplantation for treatment of foot and ankle wounds is associated with a high rate of limb salvage. Although a variety of flaps may be used, the application of the subunit principle can assist surgeons in designing flaps that will address subunit-specific functional and aesthetic concerns.

43 Reads

  • Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 08/2010; 126(2):685-6; author reply 686-7. DOI:10.1097/PRS.0b013e3181e096cb · 2.99 Impact Factor
  • Article: Reply.

    Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 08/2010; 126(2):686-7. DOI:10.1097/PRS.0b013e3181de19ad · 2.99 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The evolution of techniques in plastic surgery and orthopedic surgery over the past few decades has enabled a great level of success in limb salvage. Limb salvage can now be achieved when faced with trauma, tumor, sepsis, or vascular disease. In fact, "What can be salvaged?" is now a less common debate among clinicians than "What should be salvaged?" Often discussions among surgeons from various subspecialties, including orthopedics, plastics, trauma, and vascular surgery, are characterized by how each of them can perform their respective part of the salvage operation, be it bony fixation, revascularization, or soft-tissue coverage, but none of them is certain whether it should be attempted. What is needed in these clinical situations is an interdisciplinary team approach led by individual or groups of clinicians who are familiar not only with their own subspecialized skills but also with those of their colleagues and the outcomes associated with integrated efforts at limb salvage. The concept of orthoplastic surgery is based on such an idea, where the combined skills and techniques of the orthopedic surgeon and reconstructive microsurgeon are used in concert to direct efforts toward limb salvage or decide against it when it is not indicated. This article presents a review of the roles of the two subspecialties and how an orthoplastic team can function with the current techniques to improve outcomes in limb salvage surgery.
    Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 01/2011; 127 Suppl 1(1):215S-227S. DOI:10.1097/PRS.0b013e3182006962 · 2.99 Impact Factor
Show more

Similar Publications