Over a 12-year period between 1979 and 1991, 27 patients were operated on at the New York University Medical Center for salvage of below-knee amputation stumps utilizing free flaps. Six different donor sites were used. In 6 patients, the amputated foot was the donor site for a free flap to cover the tibial stump. There were 3 males and 3 females in this group. Five of the patients underwent immediate filet of foot reconstructions, while 1 patient had a reconstruction performed 69 days after injury, electively, when it was determined that below-knee amputation was the best option. All foot flaps survived and ultimately provided the major soft-tissue coverage for the below-knee amputation stump. The length of hospitalization ranged from 24 to 118 days. The time required from foot filet procedure to ambulation was 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, and 12 months in the 6 patients. Five of the 6 patients have resumed work or school after their injury. Foot flaps were based on the posterior tibial artery, anterior tibial artery, or both vessels. Nerve anastomosis of the posterior tibial nerve was performed in 5 patients. In 1 patient it was possible to maintain the continuity of the posterior tibial nerve. Five of the 6 patients were tested over a year after the flap, and all have good cold, pressure, and vibration sensation. Two of the 5 patients have heat sensation, and all 5 patients have at least protective pressure sensation. All the patients ambulate well with a below-knee prosthesis.
View details for Web of Science ID A1995RX59300023
View details for PubMedID 7568492