Prophylactic Flap Reconstruction of the Knee Prior to Total Knee Arthroplasty in High-Risk Patients

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Insufficient soft-tissue coverage following total knee arthroplasty (TKA) may threaten prosthesis retention or compromise joint function. A retrospective review was conducted of all patients who underwent prophylactic flap reconstruction of the knee prior to TKA or salvage flap reconstruction over a 6-year period. Twenty-three patients underwent prophylactic flap reconstruction. Complications at the time of flap transfer were common (48%), however, all flaps survived. All 23 successfully completed subsequent TKA with no wound complications occurring at the time of TKA. Complications in the salvage group were also frequent (44%) and 3 required above knee amputation. Postoperative range of motion was significantly better in the prophylactic group, as well as when cutaneous flaps were chosen. Prophylactic flap reconstruction of the knee prior to TKA in high-risk patients is an excellent option in this small subset of patients, many of whom would not be offered TKA without addressing the compromised soft-tissue envelope first.

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