J Reconstr Microsurg 1994; 10(5): 339-343
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-1006603

© 1994 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc.

Identical Rectus Abdominis Donor-Site Morbidity in Compromised and Healthy Patients

Geoffrey G. Hallock
  • Division of Plastic Surgery, Lehigh Valley Hospital, Allentown, Pennsylvania
Further Information

Publication History

Accepted for publication 1994

Publication Date:
08 March 2008 (online)


As microvascular capabilities improve, donor-site complications may become of greater concern. This has become an issue, particularly with the rectus abdominis muscle which is unique, as weakening of abdominal-wall integrity is always a potential problem. The author has reviewed all 50 of his pedicled and free-flap transfers of the rectus abdominis muscle, comparing healthy and chronically ill patients, for elective and emergent indications. Twelve percent of patients had donor-site complications, identical for both healthy and ill patients; 11.4 percent of pedicled flaps and 13.3 percent of free flaps had compromised outcomes. Three hernias occurred as major complications, which probably could not have been avoided. Nevertheless, these frequencies were within the range of expected complications, as with any muscle-flap donor site. The merit of this flap at the recipient site usually justified the risks and, in spite of appropriate trepidation regarding this donor site, the benefit of this flap should not be denied, even for the unhealthy patient.