The Distally Based Sural Artery Flap for Ankle and Foot Coverage

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The sural artery flap is a distally based fasciocutaneous flap that has many advantages to offer for coverage in the foot and ankle area. It has the largest arc of rotation of all the regional flaps and does not require sacrifice of any major artery, and moderate-to-large-sized defects can be covered adequately. The dissection technique is simple, and donor site morbidity is minimal. We report our experience with 17 cases. Age range was from 13 to 56 years. Ten (59%) defects were posttraumatic, 3 (17%) were related to reconstructive surgery of the foot or tendon Achilles', 2 (11%) resulted from tumor resection, and 1 each were from infection and gunshot wound. The smallest flap was 6 × 4 cm and the largest was 15 × 12 cm, with the average size being 11 × 7.5 cm. In 5 cases, the donor site was closed primarily, and in other cases, split-thickness skin graft was needed. The short saphenous vein was included in the pedicle in all cases. There was no incidence of complete flap necrosis. Follow-up ranged from 3 to 30 months. Two cases (12%) developed partial superficial necrosis. In 1 case, there was partial wound dehiscence that needed debridement and repair. Another case had postoperative discharge, which subsided after removal of the calcaneal plate. None of the patients complained of any functional problem related to loss of sensation along the lateral border of the foot. The sural island flap is a reliable, safe, and easy method of providing soft tissue coverage in the area of the foot and ankle.

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