[Applied anatomy study and clinical application of great saphenous veno-saphenous neurocutaneous vascular flap]

Zelong Li, Zihai Ding, Peixin Wang, Yibo Xie, Bo Zeng
Chinese Journal of Reparative and Reconstructive Surgery 2006, 20 (3): 259-63

OBJECTIVE: To provide the anatomic basis for defect repair of the knee, leg, foot and ankle with great saphenous veno-saphenous neurocutaneous vascular island flaps.

METHODS: The origin, diameter, branches, distribution and anastomoses of the saphenous artery and saphenous neurocutaneous vascular were observed on 20 sides of adult leg specimens and 4 fresh cadaver voluntary legs. Another 4 fresh cadaver voluntary legs were radiographed with a soft X-ray system after the intravenous injection of Vermilion and cross-sections under profound fascial, other hand, micro-anatomic examination was also performed in these 4 fresh cadaver legs. The soft tissue defects in lower extremity, upper extremity, heel or Hucou in hand were repaired with the proximal or distal pedicle flaps or free flaps in 18 patients (12 males and 6 females,aging from 7 to 53 years). The defect was caused by trauma, tumour, ulcer and scar. The locations were Hucou (1 case), upper leg (3 cases), lower extremity and heal (14 cases). Of then, 7 cases were complicated by bone exposure, 3 cases by tendon exposure and 1 case by steel espouse, the defect size were 4 cm x 4 cm to 7 cm x 13 cm. The flap sizes were 4 cm x 6 cm to 8 cm x 15 cm, which pedicle length was 8-11 cm with 2.5-4.0 cm fascia and 1-2 cm skin at width.

RESULTS: Genus descending genicular artery began from 9.33 +/- 0.81 cm away from upper the condyles medialis, it branched saphenous artery accompanying saphenous nerve descendent. And saphenous artery reached the surface of the skin 7.21 +/- 0.82 cm away from lower the condyles medialis, and anastomosed with the branches of tibialis posterior artery, like "Y" or "T" pattern. The chain linking system of arteries were found accompanying along the great saphenous vein as saphenous nerve, and then a axis blood vessel was formed. The small artery of only 0.05-0.10 mm in diameter, distributed around the great saphenous vein within 5-8 mm and arranged parallelly along the vein like water wave in soft X-ray film. All proximal flaps, distal pedicle flaps and free flaps survived well. The appearance, sensation and function were satisfactory in 14 patients after a follow-up of 6-12 months.

CONCLUSION: The great saphenous vein as well as saphenous neurocutaneous has a chain linking system vascular net. A flap with the vascular net can be transplanted by free, by reversed pedicle, or by direct pedicle to repair the wound of upper leg and foot. A superficial vein-superficial neurocutaneous vascular flap with abundance blood supply and without sacrificing a main artery is a favourite method in repair of soft tissue defects in foot and lower extremity.

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