Free Tissue Transfer to the Knee for a Complex Wound Coverage When Good Recipient Vessels Are Not Available : Journal of Craniofacial Surgery

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Free Tissue Transfer to the Knee for a Complex Wound Coverage When Good Recipient Vessels Are Not Available

Pyon, Rachel E. BS*; Pu, Dustin F.; Zeiderman, Matthew R. MD; Pu, Lee L.Q. MD, PhD

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The Journal of Craniofacial Surgery 34(3):p 1147-1150, May 2023. | DOI: 10.1097/SCS.0000000000009204


Free tissue transfer to the knee can be difficult due to limited options for reliable recipient vessels and vein grafts or arteriovenous loops may also be associated with an increased risk of flap failure. In this study, the authors describe our experience with creating proper recipient vessels for free flap reconstructions around the knee using the descending branch (DB) of the lateral circumflex femoral vessels (LCFV) or anterior tibial vessels (ATV). Three patients underwent free flap reconstruction of knee wounds secondary to trauma, prosthesis infection, and radiation therapy. The anterolateral thigh, rectus abdominis, and latissimus dorsi flaps were used to close the wounds, respectively. Dissection of the DB of LCFV was carried between the rectus femoris and vastus lateralis, and between the peroneus longus and brevis for the ATV. These recipient's vessels were created and placed in a more desirable location adjacent to the defect for microvascular anastomoses. The DB of LCFV and ATV were dissected successfully and both arterial and venous micro-anastomose were performed in an end-to-end manner with the recipient's vessels. All patients had successful free tissue reconstructions with uneventful postoperative courses. The flaps remained viable and reliable soft tissue coverage with acceptable contour had been accomplished during follow-up. Either DB of LCFV or ATV can serve as adequate recipient vessels after being placed adjacently to soft tissue defects for a straightforward free tissue transfer to the knee. The creation of such recipient vessels avoids vein grafts or arteriovenous loops and allows for a reliable free flap reconstruction of the knee.

Copyright © 2023 by Mutaz B. Habal, MD

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