Limb Salvage in the Patient with Severe Peripheral Vascular Disease: The Role of Microsurgical Free-Tissue Transfer

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Abstract

Severe peripheral vascular disease has traditionally precluded the use of free-tissue transfer for lower extremity salvage. In the present series, 10 microvascular transfers performed over a 2-year period are critically evaluated. Vascular surgical consultation was obtained if the preoperative assessment revealed reconstructible vascular disease proximal to the offending wound. Flaps were performed for osteomyelitis in two cases and neurotrophic ulcers in eight cases. Seven of the 10 extremities had prior distal revascularization procedures before the tissue-transfer procedure. There were no anastomotic flap failures; however, one lower extremity underwent below-knee amputation due to sepsis and its cardiovascular sequelae. In properly selected peripheral vascular disease patients, limb salvage can be effected with microsurgical free-tissue transfer. The technique appears invaluable in those patients who have undergone prior contralateral amputation.

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