Defects around the elbow region are often irregular with exposed nerves, tendons, bones/joint, and implants. Skin grafts, though possible in some cases, must be avoided, as it requires prolonged splintage and physiotherapy to prevent recurrence and elbow stiffness. Distant flaps require multiple stages, and free flaps are rarely indicated for elbow defects. Muscle flaps are bulky. To overcome these problems, distally based fasciocutaneous flaps from medial and lateral sides of the arm based on posterior ulnar recurrent artery and radial recurrent artery, respectively, were used. Ten patients were studied. Age of the patients ranged from 10 to 40 years. Five were male, and five were female. Radial and ulnar recurrent flaps were used in five patients each. The largest flap size was 18 × 8 cm, and the smallest was 10 × 6 cm. The flaps were islanded in four cases, and in six cases, they were used as pedicled flaps. Skin grafts were used in 90% of the patients because large flaps were required for resurfacing; also, our patients had thinner arms with less girth. All flaps survived well. One island flap had venous congestion and marginal necrosis, which eventually healed. A significant improvement of mobility and elbow movement was noted in all patients. These flaps can be raised even from the previously burnt skin, as the pedicle is located deep. These flaps have the following advantages: The flap is reliable (deeply located consistent vascular pedicle), can cover both the flexor and extensor surface of the elbow joint, avoids prolonged splintage, elbow stiffness, and recurrence, good aesthetic, and has functional results.
European Journal of Plastic Surgery – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 1, 2010
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