Current microsurgical techniques are used in single stage repair of distal lower limb defects. The previously popular cutaneous and fasciocutaneous flaps have been practically shelved. However, in selected cases, the vessels of a lower limb can still be employed to vascularize a harvested flap for the repair of a contralateral defect. In cases where the vessels of a traumatized leg are severely damaged or jeopardized, vascular components of the opposite limb can be exploited to provide the blood supply for the flap chosen to cover the defect. There are times when trauma to both legs may require a single large flap (latissimus dorsi) which if properly vascularized can bridge a bilateral defect. This could bring about the revival of the cross-leg flaps. Four cases are reported: in one, the flap was vascularized from a healthy limb to cover a contralateral exposed fracture and an avulsed heel. In three other cases, the latissimus dorsi was utilized to fill large post-traumatic bilateral defects at the distal lower limb level. In these cases the limb with the best vascular system was chosen for flap anastomoses and fixation was then applied.
European Journal of Plastic Surgery – Springer Journals
Published: May 17, 1999
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