The gracilis muscle free flap has proven to be a dependable tool for the reconstructive microsurgeon for coverage of small- to medium-sized lower-extremity soft tissue defects because of its reliable anatomy, ease of elevation, and minimal donor site morbidity. We describe our experience with the adductor magnus muscle free flap which we have utilized in cases when confronted with the rare situation in which the dominant vascular pedicle to the gracilis muscle is insufficient or absent.
We conducted a retrospective chart review of a single surgeon's experience (EG Melissinos) over an 18-year period of all patients that underwent adductor magnus muscle free flap coverage for lower-extremity soft tissue injuries.
Twenty-four adductor magnus free flaps in 24 patients were performed over an 18-year period (2000–2018). All of the adductor magnus muscle free flaps were performed with the initial intention of gracilis muscle harvest for lower-extremity soft tissue coverage. The most common wound etiology was motor vehicle collisions (8 patients, 33%). All of the adductor magnus free flaps were used for coverage of lower-extremity wounds in the following anatomic locations: distal third (10 patients, 41.7%), ankle (11 patients, 45.8%) and foot (3 patients, 12.5%). All flaps were successful. There were minimal donor site complications. Limb salvage rate was 100%.
Use of the adductor magnus muscle free flap is a reasonable alternative to the gracilis muscle in cases when unfavorable gracilis vascular anatomy is encountered intraoperatively. It can be easily and safely harvested within the same donor incision and permits reliable coverage of small- to medium-sized lower-extremity soft tissue defects while avoiding the morbidity of a secondary donor site.