The distally based, venous supercharged anterolateral thigh flap

Cheng Hung Lin*, Jonathan Zelken, Chung Chen Hsu, Chih Hung Lin, Fu Chan Wei

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

28 Scopus citations


The distally-based anterolateral thigh flap is an attractive option for proximal leg and knee coverage but venous congestion is common. Restoration of antegrade venous drainage via great saphenous vein supercharge to the proximal flap vein is proposed. The purpose of this study was to evaluate and compare outcomes of 18 large, distally-based anterolateral thigh flaps with and without venous augmentation on the basis of flap size, venous congestion, and clinical course. The average age of 12 men and 6 women was 35.9-year old (range, 16-50 years old). Wounds resulting from trauma, burn sequela, sarcoma, and infection were localized to the knee, proximal leg, knee stump and popliteal fossa. The mean defect was 17.6 × 9.4 cm2 (range, 6 × 7 cm2 to 22 × 20 cm2). The mean flap size was 21.4 × 8.8 cm2 (range, 12 × 6 to 27 × 12 cm2). There were 14 cases in the venous supercharged group and 4 cases in the group without supercharge. The mean size of flaps in the venous supercharged group was significantly larger than that in the group without supercharge (22.6 ± 3.8 × 9.1 ± 1.7 cm vs. 17.5 ± 4.4 × 7.8 ± 1.7 cm, P = 0.03). Venous congestion occurred in all four flaps without supercharge that lasted 3-7 days and partial flap loss occurred in two cases. There was no early venous congestion and partial flap loss in supercharged flaps but venous congestion secondary to anastomotic occlusion developed in two cases. Early exploration with vein grafting resolved venous congestion in one case. Late exploration in the other resulted in flap loss. Preventive venous supercharge is suggested for the large, distally-based anterolateral thigh flap.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-28
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - 01 01 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Microsurgery 36:20-28, 2016.


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