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J Hand Microsurg. 2015 Jun;7(1):49-54. doi: 10.1007/s12593-014-0167-x. Epub 2015 Jan 8.

Neural Anatomy of the Anterolateral Thigh Flap.

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Department of Orthopaedics, Phramongkutklao Hospital, 315 Ratchawithi Road, Bangkok, 10400 Thailand.
Department of Anatomy, Phramongkutklao College of Medicine, Bangkok, Thailand.


The anterolateral thigh (ALT) flap is one of the commonly used sensate flaps for intra-oral, hand, and foot reconstruction. The objective of this study was to describe the anatomic location of the sensory nerves supplying the ALT flap in relation to the surface landmarks and with the vascular pedicles. The dissections were carried out in 28 embalmed specimens. An axial line from the anterior superior iliac spine to the superolateral border of the patella and two circles with radii of 5 and 10 cm centered on the midpoint of the former line were used for the surface landmarks. At the intersection point of the axial line and the 10-cm circle, the main lateral femoral cutaneous nerve (LFCN) and its anterior branch were located within 1 and 2.4 cm, respectively. At the intersection point of the axial line and the 5-cm circle, the anterior branch of the LFCN was located within 2.8 cm. The anterior branch of the LFCN can be detected within 3 cm from the central perforator pedicle in all specimens. The posterior branch of the LFCN, superior perforator nerve, and median perforator nerve were found in more variable locations. The findings from our study provide additional information for clinical use in the planning of sensate ALT flap harvest.


Anterolateral thigh flap; Lateral femoral cutaneous nerve; Neural anatomy; Sensate flap

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