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Arch Plast Surg > Volume 46(3); 2019 > Article
Archives of Plastic Surgery 2019;46(3):255-261.
DOI:    Published online May 15, 2019.
Use of the cross-leg distally based sural artery flap for the reconstruction of complex lower extremity defects
Weihao Liang  , Bien Keem Tan 
Department of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore
Correspondence:  Bien Keem Tan, Tel: +65-6321-4686, Fax: +65-6227-3573, 
Received: 18 May 2017   • Revised: 2 September 2017   • Accepted: 24 October 2017
Cross-leg flaps are a useful reconstructive option for complex lower limb defects when free flaps cannot be performed owing to vessel damage. We describe the use of the extended distally based sural artery flap in a cross-leg fashion for lower extremity coverage in three patients. To maximise the viability of these extended flaps, a delay was performed by raising them in a bipedicled fashion before gradual division of the tip over 5 to 7 days for cross-leg transfer. Rigid coupling of the lower limbs with external fixators was critical in preventing flap avulsion and to promote neovascular takeover. The pedicle was gradually divided over the ensuing 7 to 14 days before full flap inset and removal of the external fixators. In all three patients, the flaps survived with no complications and successful coverage of the critical defect was achieved. One patient developed a grade 2 pressure injury on his heel that resolved with conservative dressings. The donor sites and external fixator pin wounds healed well, with no functional morbidity. The cross-leg extended distally based sural artery flap is a reliable reconstructive option in challenging scenarios. Adequate flap delay, manoeuvres to reduce congestion, and postoperative rigid immobilization are key to a successful outcome.
Keywords: Leg injuries / Sural nerve / Perforator flap / Surgical flaps / External fixators
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