Defects in the weight-bearing heel or forefoot are commonly derived from chronic wounds, acute trauma, or tumor excision. Reconstruction of such defects pose a significant challenge to provide a flap that is stable, durable, and sensate. Several flaps have been described for reconstruction of plantar defects, but recurrent ulcerations and/or the need of additional procedures are common. This article provides the approach and outcomes of innervated free medial plantar flap for weight-bearing plantar defects reconstruction.
Chart review was performed of 17 consecutive patients with defects in the weight-bearing heel and/or forefoot who were treated with innervated free medial plantar flaps between the years 1999 and 2016. Eleven patients were male, and 6 patients were female. The mean age was 29.5 years (range, 4–52 years). One case was combined heel/forefoot defect, 7 were heel defects, and 9 were forefoot defects. Indications were acute trauma, secondary reconstruction after trauma, and tumor excision.
The mean defect size was 8.0 ± 5.4 cm × 5.1 ± 2.1 cm, and mean flap size was 9.7 ± 1.4 cm × 6.4 ± 0.9 cm. One flap suffered from arterial thrombosis, which necessitated reoperation, and was salvaged. For the remaining cases, the postoperative course was uneventful. The mean follow-up time was 59.3 (±51.3.6) months. Two patients received minor flap corrections due to hyperkeratosis and hypertrophic scar, and 2 patients required donor site correction owing to partial loss of skin graft. One patient succumbed within 1 year owing to metastatic disease. All patients that were followed more than 1 year (n = 15) could sense blunt touch of the flap. Ten patients underwent 2-point discrimination test. No patient had recurrence of ulceration.
The innervated medial plantar flap is an excellent solution for treatment of medium-to-large defects in the weight-bearing heel or forefoot. It provides glabrous skin that is stable, durable, and sensate. The long-term results are good, with no patient afflicted by recurrent ulceration during the follow-up time.