Tear drop-free anterolateral thigh flap (ALT), a versatile design for lower limb reconstruction after trauma

Sergio Razzano, Sami Ramadan, Andrea Figus, Richard M. Haywood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: In lower limb reconstruction the cosmetic outcome is influenced by the contouring of the flap at the recipient site as well as by the donor site closure. It is also important to minimise compression of the flap pedicle. We discuss the outcomes of a versatile ALT flap design that allows freedom in skin paddle tailoring without elongating the scar, reduction of the tension over the pedicle and improved cosmetic results of both donor and recipient sites.

Methods: Between January 2009 and October 2015, 27 patients underwent reconstruction using tear drop ALTs. The age ranged between 20 and 89 years. Seventeen were elective procedures and 10 were urgent. The locations of the defects were: knee (1 case), achilles tendon (2 cases), os calcis (1 case), lateral malleolus (1 case), fibula (3 cases), tibia (6 cases), tibia/fibula (5 cases), and ankle (8 cases). The sizes of the defects ranged from 4 × 3 cm to 9 × 7 cm.

Results: The size of the flap ranged from 6 × 4 cm to 11 × 7 cm. One venous congestion and a wound dehiscence occurred, no flap loss. Two defatting procedures were performed. The mean follow‐up was 16.44 months. Final outcomes showed good functional and cosmetic results in both the donor and recipient sites.

Conclusions: The tear drop ALT is a useful tool in lower limb reconstruction allowing to improve skin paddle tailoring without elongating the donor site scar. It allows minimal tension over the pedicle while optimizing the contour of both the donor and recipient sites.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-286
Number of pages9
Issue number3
Early online date21 Sep 2017
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2018

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