Functional outcomes of posttraumatic lower limb salvage: A pilot study of anterolateral thigh perforator flaps versus muscle flaps

Eduardo D. Rodriguez, Rachel Bluebond-Langner, Carol Copeland, T. Nicole Grim, Navin K Singh, Thomas Scalea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Functional outcomes of lower extremity reconstruction compared with amputation have been evaluated. However, there are little comparative data among the different reconstructive options. With the recent increase in perforator flaps, we compared the functional outcomes of muscle and perforator flaps. Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of 136 lower extremity trauma patients who underwent reconstruction with either a free muscle or perforator flap during a 7-year period. Forty-two of these patients completed the study. Patients answered the short musculoskeletal functional assessment form and supplemental questions. A physical therapist evaluated performance of physical tasks. Donor site sensation was measured with the pressure specified sensing device. Radiographic fracture union was evaluated by an orthopedic surgeon. Results: Of the 42 patients enrolled, 20 had coverage with perforator flaps and 22 with muscle flaps. Quality of life and functional outcomes demonstrate no difference (p > 0.05). Ninety-three percent of patients would go through the limb salvage process to avoid amputation. Sensation at the donor site was diminished in all patients; however, the perforator flap donor site had more significant sensory loss (p = 0.005). Time to bony union (p = 0.51), union in the presence of infection (p = 0.85), and infection after flap (p = 0.87) was not related to flap type. Conclusions: Both muscle and perforator flaps provide vascularized coverage, which nourishes the fracture but muscle flaps pilfer a functional unit which may not be inconsequential in a patient trauma. This pilot study suggests that functional outcomes of perforator skin flaps are equal to muscle flaps and a larger prospective study is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1311-1314
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Volume66
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2009

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Perforator Flap
Thigh
Lower Extremity
Muscles
Tissue Donors
Amputation
Limb Salvage
Free Tissue Flaps
Physical Therapists
Wounds and Injuries
Task Performance and Analysis
Infection
Quality of Life
Prospective Studies
Pressure
Equipment and Supplies
Skin

Keywords

  • Anterolateral thigh flap
  • Lower extremity reconstruction
  • Lower limb salvage
  • Muscle flap

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

Cite this

Functional outcomes of posttraumatic lower limb salvage : A pilot study of anterolateral thigh perforator flaps versus muscle flaps. / Rodriguez, Eduardo D.; Bluebond-Langner, Rachel; Copeland, Carol; Grim, T. Nicole; Singh, Navin K; Scalea, Thomas.

In: Journal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care, Vol. 66, No. 5, 05.2009, p. 1311-1314.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Rodriguez, Eduardo D. ; Bluebond-Langner, Rachel ; Copeland, Carol ; Grim, T. Nicole ; Singh, Navin K ; Scalea, Thomas. / Functional outcomes of posttraumatic lower limb salvage : A pilot study of anterolateral thigh perforator flaps versus muscle flaps. In: Journal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care. 2009 ; Vol. 66, No. 5. pp. 1311-1314.
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