The Medial Sural Artery Perforator Free Flap

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The medial sural artery supplies the medial gastrocnemius muscle and sends perforating branches to the skin. The possible use of these musculocutaneous perforators as the source of a perforator-based free flap was investigated in cadavers. Ten legs were dissected, and the topography of significant perforating musculocutaneous vessels on both the medial and the lateral gastrocnemius muscles was recorded. A mean of 2.2 perforators (range, 1 to 4) was noted over the medial gastrocnemius muscle, whereas in only 20 percent of the specimens was a perforator of moderate size noted over the lateral gastrocnemius muscle. The perforating vessels from the medial sural artery clustered about 9 to 18 cm from the popliteal crease. When two perforators were present (the most frequent case), the perforators were located at a mean of 11.8 cm (range, 8.5 to 15 cm) and 17 cm (range, 15 to 19 cm) from the popliteal crease. A series of six successful clinical cases is reported, including five free flaps and one pedicled flap for ipsilateral lower-leg and foot reconstruction. The dissection is somewhat tedious, but the vascular pedicle can be considerably long and of suitable caliber. Donor-site morbidity was minimal because the muscle was not included in the flap. Although the present series is short, it seems that the medial sural artery perforator flap can be a useful flap for free and pedicled transfer in lower-limb reconstruction. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 108: 1609, 2001.)

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