Vascularized ulnar periosteal pedicled flap for forearm reconstruction: Anatomical study and a case report

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Abstract

Purpose

Through an anatomical review, the aim of this study is to define the ulnar periosteal branches of the posterior interosseous vessels (PIV). In addition, we report the clinical utility of a vascularized ulnar periosteal pedicled flap (VUPPF), supplied by the investigated PIV, in a complex case of radial nonunion.

Methods

Ten upper limbs latex colored from fresh human cadavers were used. Branches of the PIV were dissected under 2.5× loupe magnification, noting the periosteal, muscular, and cutaneous branches arising distal to the interosseous recurrent artery. The VUPPF was measured in length (cm) and width (cm).

Results

The PIV provided a mean 12.8 periosteal branches to the ulna distributed along the most distal 15 cm, with a mean distance between branches of 1 cm, allowing for the design of a VUPPF which measured a mean 12 cm in length and 1.7 cm in width. We used a VUPPF of 7.8 cm in length and 2 cm in width to treat extensive nonvascularized bone graft nonunion with a defect of 2 cm of the left radius in a 6-year-old girl, secondary to previous Ewing's Sarcoma reconstruction. Successfully consolidation was achieved 6-months after surgery. The patient did not present postoperative complications. At 2-years of follow-up after surgery, active supination was 80° and pronation 0° (due an incomplete interosseous ossification); grip strength was 80% that of the opposite hand. The patient had resumed all her daily activities.

Conclusions

VUPPF may be considered a valuable and reliable surgical option for forearm reconstruction in complex clinical scenarios.

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