Microsurgical tissue transplantation has provided a great advance in reconstructive surgery, especially regarding upper limb defects. Compared to conventional pedicled flaps, mobilisation can occur earlier, hospital stay is shorter and no additional interventions for pedicle detachment and flap inset are needed. The lateral arm flap is an exceptionally versatile free flap with straightforward dissection and low donor site morbidity. End-to-side anastomosis preserves blood flow through the main arteries to the hand and reduces the risk of vascular compromise of the hand, which is especially important in case of severe hand injuries. Sixteen patients who underwent hand reconstruction using the lateral arm free flap are reviewed. All arterial anastomoses were conducted in end-to-side-technique either to the radial or the ulnar artery. There was no total- or partial-flap failure and only one revisional procedure due to a haematoma under the anastomosis. Eight flaps required secondary defatting, combined with removal of osteosynthesis material or tenolysis. From our point of view the free lateral arm flap is a very reliable and versatile method to resurface small and medium sized hand defects.
European Journal of Plastic Surgery – Springer Journals
Published: May 1, 2004
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