Adductor magnus perforator flap revisited: an anatomical review and clinical applications

Ann Plast Surg. 2011 May;66(5):438-43. doi: 10.1097/SAP.0b013e3182185ee1.


Background: The adductor magnus musculocutaneous perforator flap is a medial thigh flap whose utility is often overshadowed by that of its anatomic neighbor, the gracilis flap. It has a large, reliable pedicle and associated skin paddle. Few reports have been published describing the use of this flap as a local or free tissue transfer. The purpose of this study is to revisit and further characterize the anatomy of this extremely versatile yet underutilized flap.

Materials/methods: A total of 13 cadavers (n = 26 thighs) were dissected to identify the musculocutaneous perforators that supply the skin of the posteriomedial thigh. The vascular anatomy was studied using multiple modalities. Based on the anatomic data, a local V-Y advancement flap was designed. A total of 8 patients (n = 10 flaps) underwent reconstruction of locoregional defects.

Results: Our anatomic studies confirmed the presence of multiple parallel musculocutaneous perforators that travel through the adductor magnus muscle and course obliquely in a posterior-inferior direction. We found that the primary perforator is reliably found approximately 8 cm distal to the groin crease and 2 cm posterior to the posterior border of the gracilis muscle. We discovered that it is consistently accompanied by a separate perforator located 2 cm distally. Minimal dissection into the muscle revealed a Y-configuration of these 2 perforators. This configuration was present in 100% of the cadaveric dissections and is supplied by the first medial branch of the profunda femoris artery. Computed tomography angiograms depicted vascular arborization of the perforators supplying the flap. Clinical experience showed that complete flap survival was achieved in all of the cases.

Conclusion: The adductor magnus perforator flap is a reliable flap that offers robust blood supply, through a consistent vascular pedicle, to an extensive skin territory. Our anatomic studies revealed the consistent presence of 2 proximal perforators in the medial thigh that are linked by an intramuscular Y-configuration that provides enhanced blood supply to a local V-Y advancement flap design. The location of the skin paddle on the proximal medial thigh allows for minimal donor-site morbidity as it can be closed primarily with a V-Y advancement flap design, obviating the need for skin grafting.

MeSH terms

  • Cadaver
  • Dissection
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / blood supply
  • Muscle, Skeletal / transplantation*
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures / trends
  • Surgical Flaps / blood supply*
  • Thigh / anatomy & histology*
  • Thigh / blood supply*