Use of 20 cm or Longer Interposition Vein Grafts in Free Flap Reconstruction of the Trunk

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Between January of 1993 and September of 1995, six microsurgical free tissue transplants were performed using saphenous vein grafts ranging from 20 to 39 cm in length. All six free flaps survived. Two wounds were caused by radiation injury and two by tumor resection. The remaining two free flaps were performed for contour deformity and spinal cord coverage. All of the recipient sites were located on the trunk. In each case, an arteriovenous loop was created before the microvascular anastomosis to the free flap. There was one arterial thrombosis requiring thrombectomy and revision of the anastomosis. Three patients developed minor wound complications that responded to local wound care. Each of the flaps successfully provided wound coverage, and in two cases the flaps tolerated further radiation results. Long interposition vein grafts can be used for difficult microsurgical reconstructive procedures with reliable results when no local recipient vessels are available. Versatility is therefore afforded in placement of the flap and the choice of recipient vessels, making this option a useful one in the treatment of complex wounds of the trunk. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 101: 1262, 1998.)

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