Free-Flap Transfer for Coverage of Transmetatarsal Amputation Stump to Preserve Residual Foot Length

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Abstract

Surgical management of soft-tissue defects of the forefoot and midfoot caused by trauma or diabetic complications can be challenging because locoregional tissue is insufficient to provide adequate flap. This deficiency necessitates higher-level amputations, such as Chopart or even transtibial amputation, resulting in far more debilitating functional outcomes than are seen with partial foot amputation. The purpose of this study was to examine the surgical outcomes after transmetatarsal amputation and a free-flap transfer to preserve foot length. This prospective case series was conducted from January 2011 to December 2015 at the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at our institute. A total of 16 patients (11 men and 5 women) were enrolled in this study, all of whom were candidates for higher-level amputation because of inadequate soft-tissue coverage after debridement. Each patient underwent transmetatarsal amputation and reconstruction of the amputation stump using free-flap transfers to preserve foot length. Preoperative and postoperative data were collected to evaluate the postoperative outcomes. All 16 free-flap transfers were successful, with no major complications. In 2 cases, partial flap necrosis required additional skin grafting. The mean follow-up period was 24.3 months (range = 7-55 months). Flap coverage was stable, and all the patients were comfortable with their prostheses at long-term follow-up. Use of a free flap to reconstruct a transmetatarsal amputation stump provided stable coverage, preserved maximal foot length, and resulted in good functional outcomes.

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