The aim of this study was to demonstrate the viability of the transverse circumflex scapular artery perforator flap (TCSAPF) in children with soft tissue defects of the lower limb.
In an anatomic study, 25 fresh cadavers were injected with lead oxide–gelatin for spiral computed tomography and 3-dimensional image reconstruction. In a 3-year clinical application study, children with soft tissue defects and exposed tendons and/or bones in the lower limb underwent free-TCSAPF repair of the defect.
Perforators from the transverse branch of the circumflex scapular artery were identified in both anatomical and clinical studies. The average external diameter was 0.9 ± 0.3 mm. Each perforator supplied an average area of 63.5 ± 16.8 cm2 in anatomical. Twenty-one children were included in this group (9 boys, 12 girls, mean age, 6.6 ± 2.7 years). The size of the flaps ranged from 6 to 17 cm × 4.5 to 7 cm (average, 65.3 ± 22.6 cm2). The average flap harvesting time was 30.1 ± 8.5 minutes, average operation time was 138.6 ± 31.5 minutes, and average blood loss was 89.5 ± 21.9 mL. The average length of the vessel pedicle was 8.2 ± 2.4 cm. Arterial congestion occurred in one child, 18 hours postoperatively; subsequent re-exploration and great saphenous vein transplantation were successful. Of the 3 children who had bulky flaps, 1 patient underwent defatting. Satisfactory outcomes included good appearance and function of the recipient and donor areas.
The TCSAPF provides high-quality skin and vessel flexibility, providing a reliable blood supply in children. The flap has potential benefits over existing perforator flaps.