Outcome and Complications following Vertical Rectus Abdominis Myocutaneous Flap Surgery to Reconstruct Sacrectomy Defects

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Abstract

Background:

The vertical rectus abdominis myocutaneous flap has been used to reliably reconstruct posterior soft-tissue defects following resection of high sacral tumors, providing skin and soft-tissue bulk. Current literature examining the use of these flaps for high sacral reconstruction is limited. The purpose of this study was to report the authors’ institution's outcome on the use of the vertical rectus abdominis myocutaneous flap to reconstruct a high sacral defect following an oncologic resection.

Methods:

Eighty-seven patients (29 female and 58 male) underwent vertical rectus abdominis myocutaneous flap surgery to reconstruct a posterior wound following high sacral tumor resection from 1994 to 2016. The mean age and body mass index were 52 years and 27.8 kg/m2, respectively. The mean follow-up was 6 years.

Results:

Sixty-eight patients (79 percent) sustained a complication, most commonly a wound complication [n = 41 (47 percent)]. Twenty patients (23 percent) sustained a donor-site wound complication, most commonly a wound dehiscence (n = 10). Complications resulted in a reoperation in 44 patients (51 percent), with total flap failure occurring in one (1 percent). Preoperative radiotherapy and obesity were found to increase the risk of wound complications (p = 0.004 and p = 0.02, respectively) and deep infection (p = 0.03 and p = 0.02, respectively).

Conclusions:

Complications were common following vertical rectus abdominis myocutaneous flap surgery; however, total flap loss was not. Patients with obesity and preoperative radiotherapy should be cautioned on their increased risk of complications. Currently, the vertical rectus abdominis myocutaneous flap is the authors’ preferred means of soft-tissue reconstruction following high sacral tumor resection.

CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

Therapeutic, IV.

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