Free tissue transfer using bidirectional recipient veins in traumatic extremity reconstruction

Hyun Sik Park, Bo Young Park

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Background: Reverse-flow flaps rely on retrograde or reverse flow for drainage and have shown success in reconstructive surgery. However, limited studies have been conducted on the use of reverse-flow recipient veins. Our study proposed bidirectional venous anastomoses within a single recipient vein to optimize venous outflow and evaluated the outcomes of an additional retrograde venous anastomosis group in traumatic extremity reconstruction. Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of 188 patients with traumatic extremity free flap using two venous anastomoses, which were divided into the antegrade and bidirectional venous anastomosis groups. We analyzed the basic demographic information, flap type, duration between injury and reconstruction, recipient vessels, postoperative flap outcomes, and complications. Propensity score matching was used for the additional analysis. Results: Of the 188 patients analyzed, 63 free flaps (126 anastomoses, 33.5%) and 125 free flaps (250 anastomoses, 66.5%) were included in the bidirectional venous anastomosis and antegrade groups, respectively. In the bidirectional vein group, the median time between trauma and reconstruction was 13.0 ± 1.8 days and the mean flap area was 50.29 ± 7.38 cm2. Radial artery superficial palmar branch perforator flap was most frequently performed (60.3%). In the antegrade vein group, the median time until surgery was 23.0 ± 2.1 days and the mean flap area was 85.0 ± 8.5 cm2. Thoracodorsal artery perforator flap surgery was the most frequently performed surgery. The two groups were similar in terms of basic characteristics, but the bidirectional group demonstrated significantly higher success rate (98.4% vs. 89.7%, p =.004) and lower complication rate (6.3% vs. 22.4%, p =.007) than the antegrade group. However, these results were not observed after propensity score matching. Conclusions: Our study demonstrated successful results with the recipient vein using reverse flow. Additional retrograde venous anastomosis is a useful option for augmenting venous drainage for reconstruction of distal extremities in cases where dissection of additional antegrade vein is not feasible.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere31084
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024

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