Introduction Management of a nonhealing femoral wound after vascular surgery can pose a challenging problem, particularly when there is prosthetic material involved. We prefer to use pedicled gracilis muscle flaps (PGMFs) to cover problematic groin wounds when more conventional management is not possible. Methods We describe the technique for using PGMFs to provide groin coverage, report a summary of our short-term and long-term results, and describe why we prefer this reconstructive technique. Results Twenty PGMFs were placed in 18 patients to treat nonhealing and infected groin wounds. Exposed prosthetic vascular reconstructions were covered with the PGMF in 14 wounds, and in situ autogenous vascular reconstructions were covered in four. Seven wound infections were polymicrobial, 10 had a single gram-positive organism, and one had a single gram-negative organism. Pseudomonas cultured out in four wounds, and Candida in one wound. Two patients had a virulent combination of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and vancomycin-resistant enterococcus. Complete healing was initially achieved in all wounds, and no patient died within 30 days of surgery. Two PGMFs failed, at 2 weeks and 2 months, respectively, one from tension on the flap pedicle and one from acute inflow occlusion. Underlying prosthetic reconstruction was salvaged in 12 of 14 wounds; the remaining wounds with autogenous reconstructions or exposed femoral vessels all closed successfully. At a mean follow-up of 40 ± 10 months there were no recurrent groin infections. Seven patients died, at 2.5, 3, 8, 12, 14, 22, and 28 months, respectively. Conclusion PGMF transposition is an effective option to cover infected or exposed femoral vessels or salvage prosthetic graft material in the groin. In appropriately selected patients, when complete graft removal and extra-anatomic bypass is not an acceptable option, gracilis muscle flap coverage is a viable alternative. The technique is relatively simple, and morbidity from PGMF harvest is minimal.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine