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Ulus Travma Acil Cerrahi Derg. 2019 Mar;25(2):188-192. doi: 10.5505/tjtes.2018.28302.

Comparison of subacute and delayed free flap reconstruction in the treatment of open lower extremity fractures.

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Department of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, İstanbul University-Cerrahpaşa Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Medicine, İstanbul-Turkey.



Although early free flap coverage for lower extremity traumatic defects has been recommended by several authors, it is often not practical due to associated patient injuries or logistics. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of subacute and delayed surgical timing on flap success.


A retrospective analysis of adult patients who underwent a microsurgical free flap operation between 2007 and 2012 following lower extremity trauma was performed. The patients were divided into 2 groups according to the time period between the injury and the free flap operation: a subacute group (flap performed 10 to 29 days after injury) and a delayed repair group (>30 days after injury). The details of patient demographics, the mechanism of injury, timing from operation to discharge, minor and major complications, and flap failure rates were evaluated and compared.


The study included 35 patients who underwent 37 free flap operations. A total of 20 patients were operated on 10 to 29 days after the injury (subacute repair group), and 15 patients were operated on more than 30 days after the injury (32-92 days) (delayed repair group). No significant correlation was found between the timing of the reconstruction, flap failure, and complication rates.


Both subacute and delayed reconstruction for lower extremity traumatic defects can be performed with favorable results with appropriate wound preparation and precise preoperative planning.

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