Revisit of the anatomy of the distal perforator of the descending genicular artery and clinical application of its perforator “propeller” flap in the reconstruction of soft tissue defects around the knee


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Abstract

Purpose:In this article,we revisited the anatomy of the distal perforator of the descending genicular artery (DGA) and report the clinical application of its perforator propeller flap in the reconstruction of soft tissue defects around the knee.Methods:Forty fresh human lower limbs were dissected to redefine the anatomy of the branches of the DGA and their perforators and the anatomical landmarks for clinical applications. Five patients underwent “propeller” distal anteromedial thigh (AMT) flaps based on DGA perforators for the reconstruction of post-traumatic (n = 4) and post-oncologic (n = 1) soft tissue defects occurring near the knee with a size ranging from 4.8 cm × 6.2 cm to 10.5 cm × 18.2 cm.Results:A constant cutaneous perforator of the osteoarticular branch (OAB) of the DGA was found in the distal AMT fossa with a mean caliber of 1.2 ± 0.4 mm. It arose 9.4 ± 3.1 cm distally to the origin of the OAB and 4.0 ± 0.4 cm above the knee joint. The size of the harvested flaps ranged from 6.0 cm × 7.1 cm to 11.0 cm × 20.1 cm. All the flaps healed uneventfully at a mean period of 7.4 months. All the patients regained full range motion of the knee-joint.Conclusion:Our study provided evidence of the vascular supply and the clinical application of the distal AMT flap based on a constant perforator arising from the OAB of the DGA. This flap may be a versatile alternative for the reconstruction of the defects around the knee because of its consistent vascular pedicle, pliability and thinness, adequate retrograde perfusion, and the possible direct suture of the donor site. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Microsurgery 35:370–379, 2015.

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