Osteocutaneous Radial Forearm Flap: Harvest Technique and Prophylactic Volar Locked Plating

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Wolters Kluwer Health


Background: The osteocutaneous radial forearm (OCRF) flap is a variation of the traditional radial forearm flap with incorporation of an anterolateral segment of corticocancellous bone of the radius, periosteum, and overlying skin. The OCRF flap is indicated in traumatic injuries or extirpation defects with segmental bone loss and is well suited to foot and ankle reconstruction due to its thin pliable skin. Methods: In this single-center case series, a retrospective review was conducted to identify patients who underwent OCRF free flap for foot and ankle reconstruction that required harvest of more than 50% of the cross-sectional area of the radius with prophylactic volar locked plating of the donor site. Outcome measures included flap failure rates, postoperative fracture, thrombotic events, time to follow-up, and time to full weightbearing. Flap harvest technique is extensively discussed. Results: Six cases were included in this series. There were no flap failures or thrombotic events. Recipient site healing was confirmed in all patients, with partial distal skin paddle loss in one patient requiring operative debridement. No patients sustained donor site complications or functional impairment. Full lower extremity weightbearing was achieved at 12.4 ± 3.3 weeks after surgery. Conclusions: The OCRF free flap transfer provides a reliable means of obtaining thin, supple soft tissue coverage with a large, vascularized segment of bone for reconstruction in the foot and ankle. Here, we describe use of more than 50% of the cross-sectional area of the radius with volar locked prophylactic plating. These updates expand use of this reconstructive technique.