Local Fasciocutaneous Flaps for Olecranon Coverage

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In 1989 we began to treat soft-tissue defects around the olecranon process with local fasciocutaneous flaps as our preferred method of treatment. These soft-tissue defects are complications of bursitis, degenerative joint disease, and burns. They may also result from pressure necrosis over the olecranon in patients with impaired sensation. Because of the difficulty in treating these wounds a variety of local muscle, musculocutaneous, fasciocutaneous, distant, and free flaps have been described. Fasciocutaneous flaps have the advantage of using regional tissue in a single stage. Fasciocutaneous flaps around the elbow can be categorized as proximally or distally based. Proximally based flaps include the radial and ulnar forearm flaps as well as the posterior interosseous flap. Distally based flaps are based on upper elbow collaterals including the radial collateral artery, the middle collateral artery, and the anterior and posterior ulnar recurrent arteries. Eleven fasciocutaneous flaps were used in 10 patients with a follow-up of 1 to 3 years. All flaps survived and provided primary wound closure. Complications included 1 patient with recurrent ulceration after being healed for 6 months and 1 patient with a transient neurapraxia of the posterior interosseous nerve that resolved after 2 weeks. These flaps provide long-term stable coverage of olecranon wounds by using regional tissue with an acceptable donor site morbidity.

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