The SIEA SHRIMP Flap: An Ultrathin Axial Pattern Free Flap Useable in Obese Patients

John M. Felder, Brooke E. Willborg, William Y. Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The reconstruction of distal extremity wounds poses a unique surgical challenge. In free tissue transfer, a thin, pliable skin flap is the ideal. Obese patients have a paucity of thin skin donor sites. Herein we report the discovery of a free SHRIMP flap (Superthin Harvest of a Reliable Islanded Medial Pannus flap) based on the SIEA vessels, harvested from a thick abdominal pannus at the time of cosmetic abdominoplasty. A 61-year-old woman with a chronic wound of the right Achilles tendon was evaluated for reconstruction after failing conservative measures. At the time of consultation, the patient expressed interest in abdominoplasty. Therefore, a skin flap from the abdomen or rectus abdominis muscle flap in the context of an abdominoplasty was offered. Despite obesity affecting the pannus, the superficial inferior epigastric vessels were found to course superficially beneath the dermis at time of abdominoplasty. This allowed straightforward harvest of a superthin flap of skin and minimal subcutaneous fat, which contoured to the ankle with an aesthetically pleasing outcome. The patient was satisfied with the results of her abdominoplasty and coverage of her chronic wound. The SHRIMP flap provides a straightforward, axial pattern, superthin free skin flap based on the superficial inferior epigastric vessels, and represents a useful option in obese patients. The flap can be combined with abdominoplasty for an aesthetic donor site.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E4274
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery - Global Open
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 22 2022


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