Annals of Vascular Surgery

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 244–254 | Cite as

Free vascularized tissue transfer for limb salvage in peripheral vascular disease

  • Lori L. Greenwald
  • Anthony J. Comerota
  • Amitabha Mitra
  • Julieta D. Grosh
  • John V. White
Papers From The Peripheral Vascular Surgery Socity 1989 Meeting


In patients with tissue necrosis, higher limb salvage rates can be accomplished with free tissue transfers performed by a vascular and plastic surgeon team. We treated 10 patients with severe ischemic soft tissue defects in their legs with radical debridement and free tissue transfer alone (two patients) or after revascularization (eight patients). Arteriography was performed to plan revascularization to evaluate bypass results, and to identify appropriate recipient vessels for free tissue transfer. Soft tissue defects treated with free tissue transfer included nonhealing amputation sites in five patients and proximal skin and muscle necrosis in the remaining patients, one of which resulted in an exposed in-situ graft in one leg. One patient underwent a distal bypass specifically to provide arterial inflow for free tissue transfer, whereas seven other patients received free tissue transfers following bypass due to persistently nonhealing wounds. The remaining two patients had diabetes mellitus with necrosis near a major joint with nonhealing amputation sites. Free tissue transfers were taken from the latissimus dorsi in six patients, and from the gracilis, rectus abdominis, rectus femoris, and scapula flaps in other patients. Recipient vessels for free tissue transfers were the external iliac artery (one patient), saphenous vein bypass grafts (two patients), popliteal artery (one patient), posterior tibial (three patients), and dorsalis pedis vessels (three patients). Eight of the 10 flaps were viable at follow-up (four months-six years), with a mean follow-up of 20 months. One patient underwent above-knee amputation 15 months after operation and one underwent below-knee amputation three years later due to central flap necrosis. The remainder achieved functional limb salvage allowing patients to resume ambulation. Vascular surgeons should consider free tissue transfer in patients with nonhealing soft tissue defects following optimal revascularization to further extend our ability to salvage the threatened limb.

Key Words

Free tissue transfer peripheral vascular disease limb salvage ischemia diabetes mellitus occlusive disease 


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Copyright information

© Annals of Vuscular Surgery Inc 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lori L. Greenwald
    • 1
  • Anthony J. Comerota
    • 1
  • Amitabha Mitra
    • 1
  • Julieta D. Grosh
    • 1
  • John V. White
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SurgeryTemple University HospitalPhiladelphia

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