Vertical rectus abdominis myocutaneous flap to reconstruct thigh and groin defects: A retrospective cohort and systematic review

Joseph Banuelos, Lucas Kreutz-Rodrigues, Andrew M. Mills, Steven L. Moran, Brian T. Carlsen, Jorys Martinez-Jorge, Karim Bakri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The vertical rectus abdominis myocutaneous (VRAM) flap is one of the options for soft-tissue reconstruction in the groin and thigh. The aim of this study is to evaluate the clinical outcomes, risk factors for complications, and the utility of using mesh to prevent abdominal hernia. Methods: A retrospective review of patients who underwent VRAM flap reconstruction to reconstruct proximal thigh and groin defects from 1997 to 2018 was performed. Data regarding patient demographics, surgical characteristics, and postoperative outcomes were collected. Proportional hazard regression analysis was performed to assess the association of the risk of recipient site complications. A systematic review was performed to assess the outcomes and summarize the evidence from published studies. Results: Fifty-three patients were identified and included in this study. In most of the cases, the procedures were performed after tumor resection (77%) and in the rest of the cases, they were performed for chronic complicated wounds (23%). Twenty-five (47.2%) patients developed complications. Intraoperative and postoperative radiotherapy, chronic kidney disease, history of prior tumor resection, and reconstructions of chronic complicated wounds were associated with an increased risk of recipient site complications. A systematic review identified 9 articles, for a total of 189 reconstructions. The pooled complications and failure rates were 31.2% and 2.1%, respectively. Stratified analysis showed that the rate of abdominal hernia was similar in patients with mesh (16.7%) and in patients with primary closure only (15.1%; p = 0.761). Conclusion: Defects in the groin or proximal thigh can be treated successfully with the VRAM flap. Although wound complications and hernia rates are high, the reconstruction failure rate is low.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • Complications
  • Flap
  • Groin
  • Hernia
  • Outcomes
  • Reconstruction
  • Thigh
  • VRAM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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