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Soft Tissue Coverage at the Resource-challenged Facility

Abstract

Covering soft tissue defects remains challenging for orthopaedic surgeons, especially those in resource-challenged facilities. Covering tissue defects follow a plan from simple to complex: primary closure, local flap, area flap, pedicle flap, and free flap. I will limit my discussion to the role of latter two. At the district-level hospital in Vietnam, pedicle flaps are generally more useful, so I will discuss free flaps only briefly. The choices of pedicle flaps include: kite flap, posterior interosseous flap, radial flap (Chinese flap), neurocutaneous flap, anterolateral thigh fasciocutaneous flap, gastrocnemius flap, sural flap, posterior leg flaps; we typically use a free flap with the latissimus dorsi. Soft tissue coverage with pedicle flaps has many advantages: reliability, relatively easy harvest, and good blood supply. Free flaps with microanastomosis have an important place in covering difficult medium- or large-sized soft tissue defects but also require more instruments and more highly trained surgeons.

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