Ali, A. T., M. Rueda, S. Desikan, M. M. Moursi, R. An, H. Spencer, S. Rueda and J. F. Eidt (2016). “Outcomes after retroflexed gracilis muscle flap for vascular infections in the groin.” J Vasc Surg: May 2016 [Epub ahead of print].
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OBJECTIVE: Multiple catheterizations and procedures on the femoral arteries can increase the risk of infection and eventual destruction of the overlying skin and subcutaneous tissue. Without adequate tissue coverage, vascular structures are exposed and, thus, vulnerable to disruption. This can lead to loss of limb and/or life and carries a significant mortality. We hypothesized that gracilis muscle flap (GMF) was a reliable adjunct in providing healthy tissue coverage for a complex surgical problem. METHODS: Retrospective review of charts was performed on all patients who had undergone GMF for groin infections at a tertiary care medical center. RESULTS: From 1997 to 2012, GMF was performed in 68 limbs (64 patients) by vascular surgeons for infectious etiology to cover the common femoral artery. At the time the GMF was placed, the femoral artery had synthetic graft/patch in 14 limbs, whereas 54 limbs had procedures with autologous conduit. Complete healing was achieved in 58 (85%) limbs. Treatment was deemed not successful in 10 limbs where patients continued to have persistent infection. Six out of 10 limbs had anastomosis disruption requiring emergent ligation of the common femoral artery. Nine patients died during the perioperative period (30-day). There were a total of 13 amputations in 12 patients. Limb salvage was achieved in 55 limbs (81%). Univariate analysis suggested that patients that had revascularization procedures with synthetic graft had a higher complication rate compared with autologous/vein reconstruction (24% vs 5%; P = .021). This group also has a higher rate of persistent infection compared with the autologous group (24% vs 2%; P = .006). Patients older than 75 years at the time of GMF had a higher incidence of GMF-related complications (57% vs 5%; P = .04). Multivariate analysis confirmed that presence of prosthesis led to higher incidence treatment failures and muscle flap complications at the surgical site (odds ratio, 6.6; P = .04; and odds ratio, 13.3; P = .03, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: GMF is technically simple to perform and provides durable soft tissue coverage with a high rate of healing for complex groin wounds even in the presence of synthetic conduit.