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Anterolateral Thigh Flap Technique in Hand and Upper Extremity Reconstruction

Wang, Howard T. MD; Erdmann, Detlev MD; Fletcher, James W. MD; Levin, L. Scott MD, FACS

Techniques in Hand & Upper Extremity Surgery: December 2004 - Volume 8 - Issue 4 - p 257-261

The anterolateral thigh flap is an extremely versatile flap first described in 1984. The flap is based on either a septocutaneous or musculocutaneous perforator of the descending branch of the lateral circumflex femoral system. It can be designed as a skin and subcutaneous flap, fasciocutaneous, or musculocutaneous flap. Furthermore, it can be harvested as a sensate flap by taking the lateral cutaneous nerve of the thigh. Technique for harvesting the flap is described in detail. Complications include flap failure and donor site morbidity. Due to its versatility, the anterolateral thigh flap is particularly useful for upper extremity reconstruction.

Divisions of Orthopedics and Plastic, Reconstructive, Maxillofacial, and Oral Surgery; Duke University Medical Center; Durham, NC

Department of Plastic and Hand Surgery; Regions Hospital; St. Paul, MN

Address correspondence and reprint requests to L. Scott Levin, MD, Division of Plastic, Reconstructive, Maxillofacial, and Oral Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, DUMC 3945, Durham, NC 27710. E-mail:

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.