In patients with diabetes, the off-loading cast has not been widely used to treat plantar ulcers because of its poor acceptance by patients and the high risk of side effects. We evaluated the safety and efficacy of an alternative surgical treatment: a square, fasciocutaneous random plantar flap to cover plantar ulcers. From December 2012 to February 2013, we enrolled 23 consecutive diabetic patients with deep neuropathic or neuroischemic plantar ulcers. Of these 23 patients, 9 underwent percutaneous transluminal angioplasty, 10 had the metatarsal removed, 3 underwent dorsiflexory, distal metatarsal osteotomies, 2 underwent first metatarsophalangeal joint resection and ray stabilization with Kirschner wires, and 1 each underwent midfoot exostectomy, sesamoidectomy, and partial calcanectomy. A square random fasciocutaneous plantar flap was created for all 23 patients. Two patients were excluded from the analysis for weightbearing on the involved foot within 24 hours of surgery. The healing rate was 100% for the remaining 21 patients, with healing by first intention in 15 (mean ± standard deviation time to healing 30 ± 13 days), by second intention in 5 (86 ± 40 days), and by surgical revision in 1. The overall mean healing time was 44 ± 31 days. During a mean follow-up of 724 ± 275 days, no ulcer recurred; however, 1 transfer ulcer appeared on an adjacent metatarsal head. The use of a square random fasciocutaneous plantar flap is a safe and effective surgical option for treating neuropathic plantar ulcers, offering a high healing rate, a short healing time, and a low rate of recurrence.
Level of Clinical Evidence: 4