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29.10.2018 | Original Article • LOWER LIMB - MICROSURGERY | Ausgabe 2/2019

European Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery & Traumatology 2/2019

Reverse sural artery flap: a reliable alternative for foot and ankle soft tissue reconstruction

European Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery & Traumatology > Ausgabe 2/2019
Anastasios Korompilias, Ioannis Gkiatas, Maria Korompilia, Dimitrios Kosmas, Ioannis Kostas-Agnantis



Soft tissue defects of foot and ankle are challenging due to the susceptibility of the area to trauma and the complexity of the region. Several flaps have been described for wound coverage after surgical debridement at this location. The purpose of this study is to present the reverse sural flap for covering soft tissue defects at the ankle and foot.

Materials and methods

From July 2014 to November 2017, ten patients with soft tissue defect at the ankle and foot were retrospectively reviewed. There were nine men and one woman with a mean age of 40.5 years (range 17-71 years). Seven patients were smokers and five were diabetics. The mean size of the defect was 50.5 cm2. All operations were performed by the same microsurgical team. At a mean follow-up of 21 months (range, 18 to 24 months), we evaluated wound healing and complications.


In nine patients, the soft tissue defect was successfully covered. In four patients, venous congestion was noticed, whereas in one patient, there was total necrosis of the flap. In all cases, the donor site was healed uneventfully.


The reverse sural artery flap is a reliable alternative for wound coverage at the ankle and foot, with low complication and morbidity rate. Nevertheless, it is a demanding microsurgical operation that requires knowledge of the anatomy and surgeons' experience.

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