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The Groin Flap in Reparative Surgery of the Hand

Chow Jimmy A. M.D.; Bilos, Z. John M.D.; Hui, Peter M.D.; Hall, Robert F. M.D.; Seyfer, Alan E. M.D.; Smith, Allan C. M.D.
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: March 1986

The historical literature of the use of axial vascular pattern flaps from the hypogastric and iliofemoral regions in reparative surgery of the hand is concisely reviewed. Thirty-six iliofemoral (groin) flaps were utilized for delayed primary resurfacing and secondary reconstruction of defects of the hand and forearm. Two flaps (6 percent) were complicated by partial necrosis.

We caution against the immediate resurfacing (within 24 hours of injury) of acute crushed hand wounds by distant flaps. The immediate application of a healthy flap on a soiled or crushed wound invites complications of local tissue necrosis, infection, and subsequent loss of the flap. When distant flaps are indicated for coverage of acute hand wounds, delayed primary coverage following complete removal of all nonviable tissue is a safe and reliable regimen.

It is advantageous to design the serviceable portion of the flap on the distal area of the vascular territory of the groin flap. Thoughtful yet “radical” defatting can be performed on the lateral portion of the groin flap territory. Constructed in this way, the long medial base of the groin flap allows freedom for movement at the wrist and metacarpophalangeal and interphalangeal joints, thus decreasing edema and stiffness.

In the management of soft-tissue defects in the hand requiring distant flap coverage, we choose to utilize the conventional groin flap in preference to the microvascular free flap when both techniques will deliver equal results.

©1986American Society of Plastic Surgeons