Short gracilis myocutaneous flaps for vulvovaginal reconstruction after radical pelvic surgery.
The short gracilis myocutaneous flap derives its blood supply from terminal branches of the obturator artery, and the vascular pedicle derived from the medial femoral circumflex artery is sacrificed. Twenty-one short gracilis myocutaneous flaps were used for vulvovaginal reconstructions in 11 patients undergoing radical pelvic surgery: bilateral flaps in nine patients for neovaginal construction after pelvic exenterations, bilateral flaps in one patient for vulvovaginal reconstruction after radical vulvovaginectomy, and a unilateral flap in one patient for vulvovaginal reconstruction after radical vulvectomy with partial vaginectomy. Major complications consisted of bilateral flap necrosis occurring in one patient who had received preoperative irradiation to the vulva and groin combined with chemotherapy. Minor degrees of necrosis (less than 5%) and/or separation of vaginal suture lines occurred in five patients without marked loss of the flaps. Vaginal caliber and depth are excellent in ten patients (91%) after follow-up of 1-22 months. The short gracilis flap is an excellent alternative to the more bulky gracilis flap, which derives its blood supply from perforating branches of the femoral artery. Based on our experience, the short gracilis flap provides adequately vascularized tissue for vulvovaginal reconstruction in patients after radical pelvic surgery, but should not be used in patients who have received extensive groin irradiation.
Soper, JT; Larson, D; Hunter, VJ; Berchuck, A; Clarke-Pearson, DL
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