Rectus abdominis myocutaneous flaps for perineal reconstruction: modifications to the technique based on a large single-centre experience

D M McMenamin, D Clements, T J Edwards, A R Fitton, W J P Douie
Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England 2011, 93 (5): 375-81

INTRODUCTION: Perineal wound breakdown with delayed wound healing represents a significant cause of morbidity following surgery and radiotherapy to the perineum. The rectus abdominis myocutaneous (RAM) flap has been used increasingly to reconstruct the perineum with good effect. We describe our six-year experience of reconstruction of the perineum with the RAM flap and share some surgical adjuncts we believe are useful.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective case note review of all patients who underwent a reconstruction of the perineum using the RAM flap between August 2003 and October 2009. Indications for the flap, complication rates and outcomes were all observed.

RESULTS: We conducted 16 RAM flap procedures, 15 of which (94%) were primary repairs and 1 (6%) a secondary repair. Three (19%) developed donor site hernias, two (12.5%) developed minor perineal wound infections, eight (50%) developed minor perineal wound breakdown and in one (6%) flap failure was observed. No perineal hernias were observed. There were no surgical mortalities.

CONCLUSIONS: The RAM flap has a high success rate and an acceptable morbidity rate and is a useful tool in the reconstruction of complex perineal wounds. Modifications to the standard surgical technique may reduce complications and improve the versatility of this flap.

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