Maximizing the Reliability and Safety of the Distally Based Sural Artery Flap

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Variations of the distally based sural artery flap have been used in the literature with varying success rates. This article stresses the axiality of this flap based on the sural nerve and the short saphenous vein. Forty distally based sural artery flaps were used for a variety of defects in the distal leg. In the proximal leg, the groove between the medial and lateral heads of the gastrocnemius muscle was explored to include the subfacial part of the medial sural nerve with the flap. The subfascial part of the nerve can consistently be included with the flap and gives off cutaneous supply to the tip of the flap to increase reliability of the distal part of the flap. The short saphenous vein should be harvested with an additional length to allow for supercharging or intermittent bleeding in the event of flap congestion. With this approach our success rate with this flap was 98%. To maximize the reliability of the distally based sural artery flap, the sural nerve and short saphenous vein must be included with the flap along its entire length.

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