Tissue expansion techniques to minimize morbidity of the anterolateral thigh perforator flap donor site.
Selection of any free flap donor site must not only meet the requirements of the recipient site but also minimize untoward sequela at the donor site itself. Although the anterolateral thigh (ALT) perforator flap is an ideal soft tissue donor site, a major drawback can be its nonesthetic appearance if a skin graft was needed. This detriment can be ameliorated by using traditional tissue expansion techniques. In a retrospective review over the past decade, 14 patients had ALT free flap donor site tissue expansion. These were subcategorized as pretransfer, concurrent, or posttransfer tissue expansion. In this group, mean ALT flap width was 12.2 ± 4.2 cm, which precluded direct donor site closure. Rectangular expanders were generally recommended. Multiple expanders are suggested for larger defects. The duration of expansion averaged 291.4 ± 163.9 days. The mean instilled volume ratio exceeded 2.43 ± 0.9 times the maximum vendor recommendation. Small skin graft residua were still left in four patients. Tissue expansion proved to be an important modality to consider for minimizing the stigmata of the skin grafted ALT free flap donor site. However, this process is time consuming and requires an additional surgical procedure. As such, this option must be reserved for the most motivated and compliant patients.
Published In/Presented At
Hallock GG. Tissue expansion techniques to minimize morbidity of the anterolateral thigh perforator flap donor site. J Reconstr Microsurg. 2013 Nov;29(9):565-70. doi: 10.1055/s-0033-1348035. Epub 2013 Jun 19. PMID: 23784789.
Medicine and Health Sciences
Department of Surgery