Double flap phalloplasty in transgender men: Surgical technique and outcome of pedicled anterolateral thigh flap phalloplasty combined with radial forearm free flap urethral reconstruction

Wouter B van der Sluis, Jan Maerten Smit, Garry L S Pigot, Marlon E Buncamper, Henri A H Winters, Margriet G Mullender, Mark-Bram Bouman
Microsurgery 2017, 37 (8): 917-923

INTRODUCTION: Radial forearm free flap (RFFF) tube-in-tube phalloplasty is the most performed phalloplasty technique worldwide. The conspicuous donor-site scar is a drawback for some transgender men. In search for techniques with less conspicuous donor-sites, we performed a series of one-stage pedicled anterolateral thigh flap (ALT) phalloplasties combined with RFFF urethral reconstruction. In this study, we aim to describe this technique and assess its surgical outcome in a series of transgender men.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Between January 2008 and December 2015, nineteen transgender men (median age 37, range 21-57) underwent pedicled ALT phalloplasty combined with RFFF urethral reconstruction in one stage. The surgical procedure was described. Patient demographics, surgical characteristics, intra- and postoperative complications, hospitalization length, and reoperations were recorded.

RESULTS: The size of the ALT flaps ranged from 12 × 12 to 15 × 13 cm, the size of the RFFFs from 14 × 3 to 17 × 3 cm. Median clinical follow-up was 35 months (range 3-95). Total RFFF failure occurred in two patients, total ALT flap failure in one patient, and partial necrosis of the ALT flap in one patient. Long-term urinary complications occurred in 10 (53%) patients, of which 9 concerned urethral strictures.

CONCLUSIONS: In experienced hands, one-stage pedicled ALT phalloplasty combined with RFFF urethral reconstruction is a feasible alternative surgical option in eligible transgender men, who desire a less conspicuous forearm scar. Possible drawbacks comprise flap-related complications, difficult inner flap monitoring and urethral complications.

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