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Major efforts have been undertaken to reduce donor-site morbidity after abdominal flaps, which eventually culminated in the introduction of the deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flap. However, due to anatomical variations (absence of dominant perforators) and the risk of ischaemic complications, the selection of patients qualifying for a DIEP flap is limited. Furthermore, DIEP flaps can only be used as free flaps. We present our long-term experience with a dissection technique of rectus abdominis myocutaneous (RAM) flaps that was developed to circumvent these drawbacks. The dissection is characterised by preventing to sacrifice any perforators nourishing the flap and by fully preserving the anterior rectus sheath, but not the muscle. The study comprises a consecutive series of prospectively assessed patients, treated between February 2000 and April 2008. A total of 100 fascia-sparing RAM flaps were operated on 97 patients (age 22-84 years, median 64 years). Free flaps were mainly used for breast reconstruction (47 flaps/24 patients), and cranially (34) or caudally (19) pedicled flaps for soft-tissue coverage after sternectomy, urogenital tumour resection or rectum amputation. Eighty patients had a total of 213 risk factors, such as cardiovascular diseases, obesity, hyperlipidaemia, diabetes mellitus, smoking or steroid medication. Partial tissue loss (skin or fat necrosis) occurred in 13 flaps, out of which seven required surgical revision. The ischaemic complications were evenly distributed between the patient subsets. At a follow-up of 2-89 months (median 20 months), one patient showed a flap harvest-related abdominal bulge after bilateral-free transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous (TRAM) flap. We conclude that the present dissection technique provides maximal perforator-related perfusion and minimal donor-site morbidity even in pedicled flaps and high-risk patients. In free flaps, it may, therefore, be recommended as an alternative to the DIEP flap.
|Item Type:||Journal Article, refereed, original work|
|Communities & Collections:||04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Division of Surgical Research|
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Reconstructive Surgery
|DDC:||610 Medicine & health|
|Deposited On:||26 Feb 2012 10:51|
|Last Modified:||23 Nov 2012 15:11|
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