The Periosteal Medial Femoral Condyle Free Flap: A New Option for Soft Tissue Reconstruction of the Distal Lower Extremity

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Abstract

Background

Small (<30 cm2) soft tissue defects of the distal leg, foot, and ankle pose a complicated issue with regard to wound healing. Multiple flaps have been proposed for reconstruction of these wounds with varying levels of success. The medial femoral condyle flap is a free bone flap supplied by the descending geniculate artery. It is currently used in the treatment of fracture nonunion, infected bone defects, avascular necrosis, and osteoradionecrosis. This study proposes the use of the periosteal portion of the medial femoral condyle (PMFC) flap for soft tissue reconstruction of the distal leg, foot, and ankle.

Methods

We performed a single-center, retrospective series of 6 patients with distal leg, foot, and ankle wounds. All patients underwent reconstruction using the PMFC flap.

Results

Of the 6 patients, 5 had chronic wounds. There were no incidences of flap loss. Five patients healed without complication, four of which had undergone immediate skin grafting, whereas one had concomitant skin paddle reconstruction. The remaining patient required a second surgery with a rotation flap for recurrent osteomyelitis and wound infection 2 months after the initial surgery. Mean operative time decreased after a 2-case learning curve.

Conclusions

Small wounds of the distal extremity can be difficult to treat, with many requiring free or rotational flap coverage. We propose novel use of the PMFC flap for reconstruction of small soft tissue defects of the distal leg, foot, and ankle. In our series, we demonstrated no donor site morbidity, with excellent cosmetic and functional outcomes.

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