Utilisation of distally based sural fasciocutaneous flaps in lower extremity reconstruction: a single-centre experience with 88 paediatric patients.

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No large series have analysed distally based sural fasciocutaneous (DBSF) flaps in paediatric patients. The aims of this study were to assess the reliability and analyse the potential risk factors for these flaps and to describe complications in the donor site and the functional follow-up results.Between June 2002 and November 2017, 88 DBSF flaps were used to reconstruct soft tissue defects in paediatric patients. Potential risk factors, reconstruction outcomes, and complications in the donor site of the flaps were analysed.Among the 88 flaps, partial necrosis developed in 8 flaps (9.1%). The partial necrosis rate was significantly higher in flaps with the top edge located in the 9th zone (26.1%), with a length-width ratio (LWR) ≥ 5:1 (28.6%), and with a dimension of the skin island ≥ 100 cm2 (22.7%). Partial necrosis did not occur in flaps with a dimension of the skin island < 80.0 cm2 or with a skin-island width < 7.0 cm. The reconstruction outcomes in most paediatric patients were evaluated as “excellent” or “good”. The incidence of obvious scarring was higher in the donor site.Partial necrosis of DBSF flaps will significantly increase when the top edge of the flap is located in the 9th zone, when the LWR of the flap is ≥ 5:1, or when the dimension of the skin island is ≥ 100.0 cm2. Flaps with a skin-island width < 7.0 cm or with a dimension of the skin island < 80 cm2 are relatively safe and reliable.

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