A Modified Scapular-Parascapular Flap Design for Optimal Coverage of the Residual Limb

Sean M. Wade, Larissa R. Brandenburg, Nicholas L. Michael, Jason M. Souza*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background Large soft tissue defects associated with major limb amputation pose a challenge to the reconstructive surgeon due to the 3-dimensional contour of the residual limb and the need to withstand the unnatural shear forces imparted by prosthetic sockets. Fasciocutaneous flaps based on the circumflex scapular system have proven useful for residual limb coverage due to the durability of the tissue provided, the absence of functional morbidity, and the ease of reelevation. A modified, bilobed flap design that incorporates large Burrow triangles into each limb serves to leverage the perforasome anatomy of the posterior trunk to provide maximal 3-dimensional coverage and favorable flap geometry while also facilitating donor site closure. Methods A retrospective medical record review was performed for all patients who underwent reconstruction of a residual limb after major amputation using the modified, bilobed scapular-parascapular free flap design at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center between 2018 and 2021. A computer-based application was used to calculate flap area and dimensions based on photographs of preoperative and intraoperative markings. Results Six patients with varying amputation levels (2 transtibial, 1 transfemoral, 1 hip-disarticulation, 1 hemipelvectomy, 1 transradial) underwent soft tissue coverage using the modified flap design. Mean flap area was 318.4 cm2 with 51.1 cm2 attributable to the modified design. This represents a 16% increase over a conventional bilobed design. There were no partial or complete flap failures. Conclusions The modified scapular-parascapular flap design enables harvest of a larger and more versatile fasciocutaneous flap with geometry that is well suited for coverage of the residual limb.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)408-411
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of Plastic Surgery
Volume89
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • amputation
  • blast injury
  • fasciocutaneous flap
  • free tissue transfer
  • limb restoration
  • limb salvage
  • residual limb coverage
  • scapular-parascapular flap
  • war trauma

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