Outcomes of Single Stage Phalloplasty by Pedicled Anterolateral Thigh Flap versus Radial Forearm Free Flap in Gender Confirming Surgery

J Urol. 2018 Jan;199(1):206-214. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2017.07.084. Epub 2017 Jul 29.

Abstract

Purpose: Phalloplasty is a critical step in female-to-male (transmale) gender confirming genital surgery. We examined outcomes between transmales who underwent phalloplasty with vaginectomy and full-length urethroplasty using the anterolateral thigh pedicled flap or the radial forearm free flap.

Materials and methods: We performed a single center, retrospective study of patients who underwent phalloplasty with vaginectomy and full-length urethroplasty using an anterolateral thigh pedicled flap or a radial forearm free flap from April 2013 to July 2016. All patients had at least 6 months of followup. Urethral and nonurethral complications were recorded. Complication rates were assessed using the OR of the anterolateral thigh pedicled flap and the radial forearm free flap groups.

Results: Of the 213 patients 149 and 64 underwent radial forearm free flap and anterolateral thigh pedicled flap phalloplasty, respectively. Patients with a radial forearm free flap had a significantly higher body mass index than those with an anterolateral thigh pedicled flap. The overall urethral complication rate for radial forearm free flap and anterolateral thigh pedicled flap phalloplasty was 31.5% and 32.8%, and the rate of partial or total neophallus loss was 3.4% and 7.8%, respectively. Patients in the pedicled flap cohort experienced significantly greater odds of urethral fistula (OR 2.50, p = 0.024), nonurethral complications (OR 2.38, p = 0.027) and phallus wound dehiscence (OR 5.03, p = 0.026).

Conclusions: Anterolateral thigh pedicled flap phalloplasty was associated with overall greater odds of urethral and other complications at 6 months of followup. Our findings can help guide surgical decision making when selecting a flap for phalloplasty.

Keywords: gender dysphoria; health services for transgender persons; penis; postoperative complications; surgical flaps.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Decision-Making / methods
  • Female
  • Forearm / surgery
  • Free Tissue Flaps / transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Penis / transplantation*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Reassignment Surgery / adverse effects
  • Sex Reassignment Surgery / methods*
  • Surgical Wound Dehiscence / epidemiology*
  • Surgical Wound Dehiscence / etiology
  • Thigh / surgery
  • Transgender Persons
  • Urethra / surgery
  • Urinary Fistula / epidemiology*
  • Urinary Fistula / etiology
  • Vagina / surgery