Donor-site morbidity of the segmental rectus abdominis muscle flap

Br J Plast Surg. 1998 Dec;51(8):603-7. doi: 10.1054/bjps.1998.0152.


The donor-site morbidity of the segmental rectus abdominis muscle flap was evaluated in 20 patients with an average follow-up time of 47 months. Our criteria were based on static and dynamic functional results including relaxation and hernia of the abdominal wall, aesthetic outcome and patient satisfaction. The dynamic functional tests of the abdominal wall showed good results corresponding to the reported minimal impairment of quality of life. There was one abdominal hernia after wound infection and secondary healing. There was no evidence of abdominal wall instability in any of the other patients. The aesthetic outcome was excellent when a transverse lower abdominal incision, asymmetrically elongated to the donor site, was used and moderate in the case of a paramedian vertical incision. Ninety-five per cent of the patients were completely satisfied or satisfied with the result at the donor site. In the segmental use of the free rectus abdominis flap a high degree of subjective patient satisfaction reflects the favourable outcome of our examinations. On the other hand there is a clinically significant functional donor-site defect of this flap. As this procedure is still widely used, and as its indication is closely linked to its absolute and relative donor-site defect, comparisons with the alternatives, e.g. the partial latissimus dorsi muscle flap, the extended gracilis muscle flap or the serratus anterior muscle flap will have to be made.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Muscles / physiopathology
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hernia, Ventral / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Plastic Surgery Procedures
  • Postoperative Complications*
  • Rectus Abdominis / transplantation*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surgical Flaps*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires