Prophylactic Muscle Flaps in Primary Vascular Procedures of the Groin

Ann Vasc Surg. 2022 Jan:78:77-83. doi: 10.1016/j.avsg.2021.05.049. Epub 2021 Aug 22.


Background: Complications following vascular procedures involving the groin can lead to significant morbidity. Achieving stable soft tissue coverage over sites of revascularization can help mitigate complications. Prior evidence supports the use of muscle flaps in reoperative groins and in high risk patient populations to reduce postoperative complications. Data regarding the use of prophylactic muscle flap coverage of the groin is lacking. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to evaluate the effect of immediate prophylactic muscle flap coverage of vascular wounds involving the groin.

Methods: A retrospective cohort study was performed on all patients undergoing primary open vascular procedures involving the groin for occlusive, aneurysmal, or oncologic disease between 2014 and 2020 at a single institution where plastic surgery was involved in closure. Patient demographics, comorbidities, surgical details, and postoperative complications were compared between patients who had sartorius muscle flap coverage of the vascular repair versus layered closure alone.

Results: A total of 133 consecutive groins were included in our analysis. A sartorius flap was used in 115 groins (86.5%) and a layered closure was used in 18 (13.5%). Wound breakdown was similar between groups (25.2% sartorius vs. 38.9% layered closure, P = 0.26). However, the rate of reoperation was significantly higher in the layered closure group (50.0% vs. 12.2%, P < 0.01). Among patients who experienced wound breakdown (N = 36), a larger proportion of layered closure patients required operative intervention (71.4% vs. 20.7%, P = 0.02). Other rates of complications were not statistically different between groups.

Conclusions: In patients undergoing primary open vascular procedures involving the groin, patients who underwent prophylactic sartorius muscle flap closure had lower rates of reoperation. Although incisional breakdown was similar between the groups overall, the presence of a vascularized muscle flap overlying the vascular repair was associated with reduced need for reoperation and allowed more wounds to be managed with local wound care alone. Consideration should be given to this low morbidity local muscle flap in patients undergoing vascular procedures involving the groin.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aneurysm / surgery
  • Arterial Occlusive Diseases / surgery
  • Female
  • Groin / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control*
  • Reoperation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surgical Flaps*
  • Surgical Wound
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures / adverse effects*