Treatment of Complex Postoperative Lumbosacral Wounds in Nonparalyzed Patients

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Postoperative infections after back operations can produce complex wounds with myonecrosis, deep dead space, and exposed orthopedic hardware, bone, and dura. Three ambulatory patients with complex postoperative back wounds that resulted from infections were treated successfully with antibiotics, debridement, irrigation, and closure of deep dead space with a superior gluteal muscle flap. Several surgical maneuvers can be performed to increase the length of the superior gluteal muscle flap. The inferior portion of the gluteus maximus was left intact to preserve gluteus maximus function. All three patients obtained healed wounds. The exposed A.O. plating system was not removed. There has not been any recurrence of infections. The superior gluteal muscle flap is a reasonable flap to fill deep dead space in the low back and has some advantages over free flaps. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 101: 1248, 1998.)

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