J reconstr Microsurg
DOI: 10.1055/s-0039-1691785
Original Article
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Comparing Outcomes for Fasciocutaneous versus Muscle Flaps in Foot and Ankle Free Flap Reconstruction

Z-Hye Lee
1  Hansjörg Wyss Department of Plastic Surgery, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York, United States
,
Salma A. Abdou
1  Hansjörg Wyss Department of Plastic Surgery, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York, United States
,
David A. Daar
1  Hansjörg Wyss Department of Plastic Surgery, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York, United States
,
Lavinia Anzai
1  Hansjörg Wyss Department of Plastic Surgery, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York, United States
,
John T. Stranix
2  Department of Plastic Surgery, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, Virginia, United States
,
Vishal Thanik
1  Hansjörg Wyss Department of Plastic Surgery, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York, United States
,
Jamie P. Levine
1  Hansjörg Wyss Department of Plastic Surgery, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York, United States
,
Pierre B. Saadeh
1  Hansjörg Wyss Department of Plastic Surgery, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York, United States
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

05 January 2019

15 April 2019

Publication Date:
30 May 2019 (eFirst)

Abstract

Background The distal lower extremity poses unique reconstructive challenges due to its requirements for durability of the load-bearing plantar surface and for thin, pliable contour in the dorsal foot and ankle region. This study compares outcomes between muscle and fasciocutaneous flaps in patients with foot and ankle defects.

Methods A retrospective review of soft tissue free flaps used for traumatic foot and ankle defects was performed. Outcomes included takebacks, partial flap failure, total flap failure, and wound complications.

Results A total of 165 cases met inclusion criteria, with muscle flaps (n = 110) comprising the majority. Defects involving the non–weight-bearing surface were more common (n = 86) than those of the weight-bearing surface (n = 79). Complications occurred in 56 flaps (33.9%), including 11 partial losses (6.7%) and 6 complete losses (3.6%). There were no differences in take backs, partial flap failure, or total flap failure between muscle and fasciocutaneous flaps; however, fasciocutaneous flaps had significantly fewer wound complications compared with muscle flaps (7.3% vs. 19.1%, p = 0.046). On multivariable regression analysis, defects of the weight-bearing surface had significantly increased risk of wound breakdown compared with those in the non–weight-bearing surface (odds ratio: 5.05, p = 0.004).

Conclusion Compared with fasciocutaneous flaps, muscle flaps demonstrated higher rates of wound complications. While the flap selection in foot and ankle reconstruction depends on the nature of the defect, our findings support the use of fasciocutaneous over muscle flaps in this region.