Coverage of the weightbearing heel poses a unique technical challenge to the reconstructive surgeon. In the present study, we share our clinical experience with the use of the medial plantar artery-based flap for coverage of tissue defects around the heel. Eighteen medial plantar artery flaps performed from January 1996 to December 2009 were included. All the procedures were performed by 2 surgeons at Aga Khan University and Hospital (Karachi, Pakistan) and Bahawal Victoria Hospital (Bahawalpur, Pakistan). Of the 18 patients, 16 were male and 2 were female. The indications were traumatic loss of the heel pad in 13, pressure sores in 2, and unstable plantar scars in 3. All the flaps were raised as sensate fasciocutaneous pedicled flaps based on the medial plantar artery. All the flaps healed uneventfully without major complications. The donor site was covered with a split-thickness skin graft, and we had partial graft loss in 1 case. The sensate flaps had slightly inferior protective sensation compared with the normal side. From our results, we suggest that the medial plantar artery flap is a good addition to the existing armamentarium. It provides tissue to the plantar skin with a similar texture and an intact protective sensation. The technique is easier to master compared with free microvascular flaps and has less risk of any functional donor site morbidity.
Level of Clinical Evidence
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Published online: July 16, 2012
Financial Disclosure: None reported.
Conflict of Interest: None reported.
© 2012 American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.