The utility of the anterolateral thigh donor site in reconstructing the United States trauma patient

Eduardo DeJesus Rodriguez, Gedge D. Rosson, Rachel Bluebond-Langner, Grant Bochicchio, Michael P. Grant, Navin K. Singh, Ronald P. Silverman, Thomas M. Scalea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Identification of a single donor site capable of providing all the components of the soft tissue envelope and the ability to selectively harvest a subset of these components is a central requirement for the microvascular reconstruction of the trauma patient. The anterolateral thigh (ALT) flap's long pedicle and adaptability in supporting a variety of tissues (muscle, fascia, soft tissue) make it a valuable tool for microsurgical reconstruction in these challenging patients. We investigated the utility of the ALT as a donor for microvascular tissue reconstruction in a Level I trauma center. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective chart review on all trauma patients treated by the plastic surgery service at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center who required microsurgical free flap coverage from July 2002 to March 2005. Fifty-eight patients underwent reconstruction of traumatic deformities with 62 microvascular free flaps from the ALT region. RESULTS: Of the 58 patients, 42 were male and 16 were female with an average age of 39 years. Recipient site locations for the 62 flaps were lower extremity, upper extremity, trunk, and head and neck. Analysis of flap anatomy revealed that 43 were fasciocutaneous, 14 were myocutaneous, 2 were adipofascial, and 3 were myofascial (vastus lateralis muscle). Six flaps were based on septocutaneous perforators, whereas the remainder contained myocutaneous perforators. Nine thigh donor sites required a split thickness skin graft, and 53 were closed primarily. The size of the flaps ranged from 36 cm to 600 cm. CONCLUSIONS: The ALT is a predictable donor site that facilitates a 2-team approach. ALT displays minimal donor site morbidity and in most cases provided sufficient tissue to cover the entire traumatic defect. Our results suggest the ALT is a reliable tissue source and an ideal donor site for the management of complex traumatic wounds in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)892-897
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2007


  • Anterolateral thigh
  • Free flap
  • Microsurgery
  • Perforator flap
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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