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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 690649, 5 pages
Clinical Study

Perforator Based Propeller Flaps in Limb Reconstructive Surgery: Clinical Application and Literature Review

1Department of Orthopaedics, Traumatology and Rehabilitation, Microsurgery Unit, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria, Città della Salute e della Scienza, Orthopaedic and Trauma Center, Via Zuretti 29, 10126 Turin, Italy
2Department of Orthopaedics, Traumatology and Rehabilitation, Orthopaedic Clinic, Second University of Naples, Via S. Andrea Delle Dame, 80100 Naples, Italy

Received 28 February 2014; Revised 21 July 2014; Accepted 17 August 2014; Published 27 August 2014

Academic Editor: Frank Siemers

Copyright © 2014 Stefano Artiaco et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The reconstruction of loss of substance due to trauma or oncological excision may have relevant functional and aesthetic implications. We report our experience in twenty-one cases of propeller flaps for the treatment of loss of substance of the upper and lower limbs. The etiology of defect was tumor excision in nine cases, trauma in seven cases, surgical wound complications in four cases, and chronic osteomyelitis in one case. Clinical results were favorable in most cases and eighteen flaps survived. We observed an overall complication rate of 33% with four cases of superficial epidermolysis that spontaneously healed and three cases of partial flap loss ranging from 10 to 50% that required surgical revision by means of skin graft (two cases) or ALT free flap (one case). Propeller flap harvesting requires great care and experience, and potential complications may occur even in expert hands. When indicated by the characteristic of the defect, these flaps can be a useful surgical option for the treatment of loss of substance of upper and lower limbs.