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Improving Outcomes of the Distally Based Hemisoleus Flap: Principles of Angiosomes in Flap Design

Schierle, Clark F. M.D., Ph.D.; Rawlani, Vinay B.S.; Galiano, Robert D. M.D.; Kim, John Y. S. M.D.; Dumanian, Gregory A. M.D.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: June 2009 - Volume 123 - Issue 6 - p 1748-1754
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e3181a65a74
Reconstructive: Lower Extremity: Original Articles

Background: The reliability of the distally based pedicled hemisoleus flap for coverage of relatively small medial distal third leg wounds has been continuously debated among reconstructive surgeons. Whereas some authors report that the distally based hemisoleus can be elevated safely, other authors argue that the flap's retrograde blood supply is problematic. The authors believe that application of angiosome principles may help surgeons to better design the distally based hemisoleus flap such that outcomes are optimized.

Methods: Seventeen patients received a distally based hemisoleus flap for coverage of a small distal third leg wound. Flaps were designed to capture one full angiosome and only a portion of the adjacent angiosome.

Results: Reliable soft-tissue coverage and wound healing were achieved in all patients. Mean operative time of 130 minutes reflected the relative technical ease and efficiency of the surgery. Only one patient suffered distal tip flap necrosis, which did not compromise soft-tissue coverage and ultimately resulted in a healed wound and fracture.

Conclusions: The distally based hemisoleus flap is an efficacious method of treating small distal third medial tibial wounds. Flap design based on vascular perforator angiosome principles may help surgeons improve the reliability of this flap.

Chicago, Ill.

From the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University.

Received for publication November 9, 2008; accepted December 29, 2008.

Disclosure:The authors have no financial interest in any of the products or techniques mentioned in this article. The authors have no commercial association with any company related to this study.

Clark F. Schierle, M.D., Ph.D.; Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery; Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine; 675 North St. Clair Street; Gaiter Suite 19-250; Chicago, Ill. 60611;

©2009American Society of Plastic Surgeons