Indications, outcome and complications with axial pattern skin flaps in dogs and cats: 73 cases

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To determine the indications, frequency of complications and long term outcome associated with axial pattern flaps used to repair wound defects in dogs and cats.


Medical records from two independent referral centres for dogs and cats undergoing wound repair with an axial pattern flap were reviewed.


Seventy-three animals were included, 49 dogs: 24 cats. Indications for axial pattern flaps were chronic wounds (43/73; 59%) and closure following tumour resection (30/73; 41%). Axial pattern flaps used were: thoracodorsal, caudal superficial epigastric, reverse saphenous conduit, superficial brachial, deep circumflex iliac, superficial cervical, caudal auricular, lateral thoracic, cranial superficial epigastric, genicular and superficial temporal. Postoperative complications occurred in 64 patients (89%) and 8 patients (11%) had no complications. Complications were: dehiscence, swelling of the flap, necrosis, infection, discharge and seroma. Flap outcome was excellent in 16 patients (23%), good in 29 (41%), fair in 21 (30%) and poor in 5 (7%).


There is a high complication rate associated with axial pattern flaps but these are usually easily managed and long term outcome is excellent, in either species.

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