Healing Heel Ulcers in High-Risk Patients: Distally Based Peroneus Brevis Muscle Flap Case Series

Tea Nguyen, Edgardo R Rodriguez-Collazo
Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery: Official Publication of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons 2019, 58 (2): 341-346
The purpose of this study was to demonstrate use of a distally based peroneus brevis muscle flap in high-risk patients with diabetes and peripheral vascular disease for limb salvage of nonhealing heel ulcerations. Seventeen patients were referred for a below-knee amputation because of nonhealing heel ulcerations and peripheral vascular disease. As a last resort, 17 distally based peroneus brevis muscle flaps were elevated in 17 patients with full-thickness heel ulcerations measuring an average defect size of 14.11 cm2. All flaps were supplemented with concentrated bone marrow aspirate, negative pressure wound therapy, bilayer wound matrix, and static external fixation for an average time of 10.3 weeks. Split-thickness skin graft was delayed by an average of 17.5 days. All procedures were performed on patients diagnosed with diabetes, advanced peripheral arterial disease and a nonhealing heel ulcer present >1 year. All flaps survived at 1.5 years follow-up. The average time to healing was 10.3 weeks. No major amputations were performed to date. Partial tip necrosis occurred in 2 patients and healed uneventfully with local wound care. Distally based peroneus brevis muscle flaps in patients with diabetes and peripheral vascular disease offer a reliable alternative to limb salvage for full-thickness heel ulcerations measuring up to 7 × 6 cm. Combinatorial procedures are necessary to improve outcomes in high-risk patients whose alternative is a major amputation.

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