Strategies in Trauma and Limb Reconstruction

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VOLUME 13 , ISSUE 3 ( November, 2018 ) > List of Articles

Original Article

Distally based anterolateral thigh flap: an underutilized option for peri-patellar wound coverage

Mikhail Bekarev, Abraham M. Goch, David S. Geller, Evan S. Garfein

Keywords : Anterolateral thigh flap, Knee coverage, Peri-patellar wound, Knee defect

Citation Information : Bekarev M, Goch AM, Geller DS, Garfein ES. Distally based anterolateral thigh flap: an underutilized option for peri-patellar wound coverage. 2018; 13 (3):151-162.

DOI: 10.1007/s11751-018-0319-9

License: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Published Online: 01-06-2016

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2018; The Author(s).


Wound coverage in the supra-patellar area presents a significant challenge for orthopaedic and reconstructive surgeons due to the need for preservation of knee joint function but the paucity of regional soft tissue flaps available. While many orthopaedic and reconstructive surgeons make use of the rotational gastrocnemius flap for coverage of peri-patellar defects, this flap has certain limitations. The goal of this study was to report a single-centre experience with the use of the distally based anterolateral thigh flap (ALT) and review the current literature on the use of the ALT for peri-patellar defects. In this report, both a single-centre experience using distally based anterolateral thigh (ALT) island flaps for supra-patellar wound coverage and the existing literature on this topic were reviewed. A systematic literature review was performed to assess the use of the ALT for peri-patellar wounds. Five patients with a mean age of 69 underwent a distally based ALT flap for coverage of peri-patellar defects. Four out of 5 flaps survived at the end of their respective follow-up. Based on this combined experience, the distally based reverse-flow anterolateral thigh island flap represents a useful but relatively underutilized option for appropriately selected supra-patellar wounds due to minimal donor site morbidity, multiple flap components, and predictable pedicle anatomy. The flap's major weakness is its potentially unreliable venous drainage, requiring delay or secondary venous outflow anastomosis. Given the ALT flap's favourable profile, the authors recommend consideration for its use when managing a peri-patellar coverage wound issue.

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