Background: Perineal wounds, created at the time of extended resection for locally advanced malignancy and following chemoradiation, are at risk of serious complications. Methods: To determine whether immediate myocutaneous flap closure prevents complications, 57 patients treated with multimodality therapy and proctectomy (35 perineal wounds) or sacrectomy (22 posterior wounds) were studied. Patients were categorized according to whether they underwent primary skin and pelvic closure (group 1; n = 20); primary skin and omental pelvic closure (group 2; n = 24); or immediate myocutaneous flap closure (group 3; n = 13). Results: Groups were similar with respect to age and sex; however, group 1 had more primary tumours and required less radical surgery and chemoirradiation than groups 2 and 3. Groups 1 and 2 experienced more complications overall (eight of 20, nine of 24 and three of 13 patients in groups 1, 2 and 3 respectively), more acute wound complications (seven of 20, nine of 24 and two of 13), delayed wound healing (three of 20, six of 24 and one of 13) and more reoperations for perineal wound problems (five of 20, seven of 24 and zero of 13). Patients in group 2 had a significantly longer hospital stay than those in group 1. Flap closure (group 3) did not increase the length of stay. The routine use of primary flap closure reduced overall wound complications (eight of 31 versus ten of 26 patients) and length of hospitalization (13 versus 17 days). Conclusion: Complete wound healing was achieved in all patients; however, immediate myocutaneous flap closure reduced the need for readmission and reoperation.
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