A systematic approach to the failed plastic surgical reconstruction of the diabetic foot

Diabet Foot Ankle. 2011:2. doi: 10.3402/dfa.v2i0.6435. Epub 2011 May 11.


Plastic reconstruction for diabetic foot wounds must be approached carefully and follow sound micro-surgical principles as it relates to the anatomy of the designated flap chosen for coverage. First, the surgeon always needs to evaluate the local and general conditions of the presenting pathology and patient, respectively when considering a flap for reconstruction. The flap that is chosen is based on the vascularity, location, and size of the defect. Salvage of the failed flap and revisional reconstructive procedures are very challenging. Often, adjunctive therapies such as hyperbaric oxygen, negative pressure wound therapy, vasodilators, and/or vascular surgery is required. In certain case scenarios, such as patients with poor general health and compromised local vascularity in which revisional flap coverage cannot be performed, the above mentioned adjunctive therapies could be used as a primary treatment to potentially salvage a failing flap.

Keywords: diabetic foot; muscle flaps; osteomyelitis; pedicle flaps; plastic surgery.