The free rectus abdominis muscle flap is now a routine procedure for the reconstruction of soft tissue defects in the lower extremity. We present the follow-up of 21 out of 27 patients operated in our clinic between 1986 and 1994. The recipient leg always showed a stable soft-tissue coverage. Clinical or radiological signs of osteitis were not found. In many of the cases, where the transplantion was to the ankle region, the muscle bulk led to an alteration of the shape of the leg, without impairment of function. When harvested through a low transverse abdominal incision, the aesthetic results in the donor site are convincing. The functional donor site defect is negligible as long as only a segment of the muscle is used. Abdominal muscle tests showed good results when only a segment of the muscle was used. The patients reported no impairment in daily life. Abdominal wall weakness was present only when the entire muscle was harvested. There was one hernia after postoperative wound infection and secondary wound healing. In all other cases, the abdominal wall was stable. In the segmental use of the free rectus abdominis muscle flap, the good results obtained in our examination correlate to the high degree of patient satisfaction.