Distally Based Medial Plantar Flap: A Classification of the Surgical Techniques

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Abstract

The proximally based medial plantar flap is considered to be the reference standard for heel reconstruction. Although less well-studied, a distally based medial plantar flap is a suitable alternative when used to cover a distal foot defect, especially of the hallux, first metatarsal, or metatarsophalangeal joint. Our objective was to provide a complete description and propose a classification of the different surgical procedures used to harvest this flap. A review of the data reported in the MEDLINE database until May 2017 concerning the distally based medial plantar flap was performed. We have illustrated the different surgical procedures through a case series. Three approaches or “types” of flap have been described, and we have proposed a classification for reconstructive surgeons. In type 1, the plantar pedicle is ligatured before division into the medial and lateral plantar artery. In type 2, the medial plantar pedicle is cut proximally just after division. In type 3, the flap is harvested to include the fasciocutaneous perforator vessels, as an advancement flap or a propeller perforator flap. A distally based medial plantar flap affords adequate and reliable coverage of the weightbearing zone. Because the donor site drawbacks are minimal, this flap is a useful option for distal foot reconstruction, and reconstructive surgeons should remember this flap. The type 1 flap appears to be associated with a minimal risk of flap necrosis, even in those with diabetes or arteriopathy, and can cover even the most distal defect.

Level of Clinical Evidence: 4

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