Sural versus perforator flaps for distal medial leg wounds

Andrew P. Schannen, Lisa Truchan, Kaoru Goshima, Roger Bentley, Gregory L. De Silva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Soft tissue coverage of distal medial ankle wounds is a challenging problem in orthopedic surgery because of the limited local tissues and prominent instrumentation. Traditionally, these wounds required free tissue transfer to achieve suitable coverage and subsequent bony union. To better respect the reconstructive ladder and to avoid the inherent difficulty of free flap coverage, rotational flaps have been used to cover these wounds. Both sural fasciocutaneous flaps and rotational fasciocutaneous perforator (propeller) flaps have been described for distal medial soft tissue coverage. The authors performed a retrospective chart review of patients who underwent distal medial leg coverage with the use of either sural flaps or rotational fasciocutaneous perforator flaps. The authors identified 14 patients by Current Procedural Terminology code who met the study criteria. The average age and degree of medical comorbidities were comparable in the 2 groups. The authors reviewed their medical records to evaluate fracture healing, flap size, complications, and return to normal shoe wear. All 7 sural flaps healed without incident, with underlying fracture healing. Of the 7 perforator flaps, 6 healed without incident, with underlying fracture healing. One perforator-based flap was complicated by superficial tip necrosis and went on to heal with local wound care. All patients returned to normal shoe wear. Both sural artery rotational flaps and posterior tibial artery-based rotational flaps are viable options for coverage of the distal medial leg. Coverage can be achieved reliably without microsurgery, anticoagulation, or monitoring in the intensive care unit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e1059-e1064
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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