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Pediatric Free-Tissue Transfer

Upton, Joseph M.D.; Guo, Lifei M.D., Ph.D.; Labow, Brian I. M.D.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: December 2009 - Volume 124 - Issue 6S - p e313-e326
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e3181bf83f1
Reconstructive Microsurgery Supplement: Original Articles: Microsurgery Supplement

Summary: Free-tissue transfer has facilitated and refined the reconstructive surgeon’s ability to repair or reconstruct acquired or congenital defects in children. Although parallels exist between indications for free-tissue transfer in adults and children, the technical challenges and surgical skill required in pediatric patients are much greater and the level of complexity can escalate tremendously. Although this operation is difficult, the success rate is high and the results are often outstanding, with the benefit of growth and functional adaptation of the transferred tissue. Experience in this field is cumulative and creative thinking is often required. This article outlines the specific features unique to children, the most commonly used flaps, the expected results in specific regions, and the potential pitfalls to be avoided.

Boston, Mass.

From Children’s Hospital Boston and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

From the Departments of Surgery and Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, McMaster University.

Received for publication February 5, 2007; accepted February 11, 2009.

Received for publication April 8, 2007; accepted February 11, 2009.

Disclosure: The authors have no financial interest to declare in relation to the content of this article.

Joseph Upton, M.D. 830 Boylston Street, Suite 212; Chestnut Hill, Mass. 02445;

©2009American Society of Plastic Surgeons