Free functional muscle transfer for lower extremity reconstruction

David Chi, Shreya Raman, Kenan Tawaklna, William Y. Zhu, Alexandra M. Keane, Jordan G. Bruce, Rajiv Parikh, Thomas H. Tung

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Free functional muscle transfer is a reconstructive strategy for the reconstruction of lost muscle units in the lower extremity after oncologic resection, trauma, compartment syndrome, or severe nerve injuries. Under appropriate circumstances, free functional muscle transfer may be the only suitable reconstructive option. This article reviews the underlying principles of free functional muscle transfer, its application to lower extremity reconstruction, appropriate patient selection, and surgical techniques. Methods: The underlying principles of free functional muscle transfer, its application to lower extremity reconstruction, appropriate patient selection, and surgical techniques are presented. Commonly used donor muscles appropriate for each type of functional defect are discussed. A review of recent publications on free functional muscle transfer in the lower extremity was also performed. Results: Good functional recovery with a Medical Research Council grade of up to 4/5 and full range of motion can be attained with free functional muscle transfer. Clinical outcomes and specific parameters for published case series in lower extremity free functional muscle transfer are presented and an illustrative case. Conclusion: Free functional muscle transfer is a suitable treatment for the appropriate patient to restore essential functions and potentially regain ambulation. However, additional published clinical outcomes are needed and represent a major area for further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)288-299
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery
Volume86
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2023

Keywords

  • Free flap
  • Free functional muscle transfer
  • Functional reconstruction
  • Lower extremity
  • Microsurgery

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