How are free flaps used in the treatment of pressure injuries (pressure ulcers)?

Updated: Mar 26, 2020
  • Author: Christian N Kirman, MD; Chief Editor: John Geibel, MD, MSc, DSc, AGAF  more...
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Answer

Free flaps are muscle-type flaps in which the vein and artery are disconnected at the donor site and subsequently reconnected to the vessels at the recipient site with the aid of a microscope. This is the most complex method of wound closure and would be considered only after all other options for reconstruction have been exhausted. In paraplegic patients dependent on their upper body for mobility, the latissimus dorsi would typically be an unacceptable donor for free tissue transfer; however, a portion of the muscle may be used with limited donor site morbidity. A protocol for postoperative care must be followed strictly for free flap survival. [162]


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