Chronic calcaneal osteomyelitis is a difficult surgical problem, especially in diabetic patients. After aggressive surgical eradication of nonviable soft tissue and infected bone, there will be a large soft-tissue and bony defect. A distally based sural fasciomusculocutaneous flap including the sural nerve and a midline cuff of the gastrocnemius muscle can be useful for covering the defect. This flap is designed on the proximal half of the posterior calf and has an adequate blood supply derived from retrograde perfusion of the vascular axis of the sural nerve to the musculocutaneous perforators of the gastrocnemius muscle. The patency of the peroneal artery should be confirmed by Doppler ultrasound or angiography before surgery. If there are any vascular problems, this flap will not be used to avoid complications resulting from poor flap circulation. This approach has been used for 11 diabetic patients in the past 2 years. All flaps survived completely and all wounds healed uneventfully. The authors found that the flap was reliable and technically simple to design and execute. This 1-stage procedure not only preserves the major arteries of the injured leg but has also proved valuable for filling bony defect and treating bony infection because it provides a well-vascularized muscle fragment. Compared with other tissue transfers, this flap has special characteristics for use on diabetic patients with chronic calcaneal osteomyelitis.
Eleven diabetic patients with chronic calcaneal osteomyelitis were successfully treated with debridement and coverage with distally-based sural fasciomusculocutaneous flaps.
From the Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Tri-Service General Hospital, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.
Received April 26, 2004 and accepted for publication, after revision, June 24, 2004.
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