Clinical Experience and Indications of the Free Serratus Fascia Flap: A Report of 21 Cases

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Abstract

The free “serratus fascia” flap as a free flap was first described by Wintsch and named a free fascia flap of gliding tissue; however, it has not yet been given a distinct name. The particular advantages of this flap consist of an easy access and a low donor-site morbidity without functional deficit. Additionally, it may be designed very variably and molded even three-dimensionally as a tendon wraparound flap or folded to fill up cavities.

In our clinic, we used this flap in 21 patients for distinct indications and in 7 patients as a vascular graft in fingers or great toe with a minimal adjacent layer of gliding tissue around the vessels for the treatment of cold intolerance after finger replantation or severe finger or toe trauma. In the other cases, this versatile flap served for the coverage of traumatically exposed tendons or bones at the extremities, covered with a skin graft. Eighteen flaps survived completely, whereas 3 flaps developed partial or superficial necrosis. Only once did a major complication by unintentional sacrification of the long thoracic nerve during flap harvesting occur, resulting in a wing scapula. We recommend this flap for defect cover at sites where a thin vascularized gliding layer for defect cover is needed, especially in distal extremities with exposed tendons or nerves, and present the current indications in discussing our experiences. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 102: 1939, 1998.)

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