Although free flaps are currently the gold standard for distal lower extremity reconstruction, situations occasionally arise where alternative methods are needed. We present three cases of cross-leg flaps, which have been modernized with current external fixation technology and current understanding of vascular anatomy. All cross-leg flaps were based on the axial blood supply of the posterior descending subfascial cutaneous branch of the popliteal artery. This axial flap afforded considerable length and well-vascularized tissue. All patients were placed in external fixation devices. Adjacent lower extremity joints were exercised during the period of attachment. There were no major complications or flap failures. All patients were ambulatory postoperatively. We conclude that the cross-leg flap, using external fixation techniques and axially based flaps, can be successfully and expeditiously used to cover defects of the lower extremities.
Long CD, Granick MS, Solomon MP. The cross-leg flap revisited.