Comparison between sensitive and nonsensitive free flaps in reconstruction of the heel and plantar area

Kuran I., Turgut G., Bas L., Ozkan T., Bayri O., Gulgonen A.

PLASTIC AND RECONSTRUCTIVE SURGERY, vol.105, no.2, pp.574-580, 2000 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier


In this study, 12 cases of reconstruction of the heel and plantar area since 1982 are reviewed. Six nonsensate muscle fi ee flaps and six sensate fasciocutaneous flaps were used, respectively. Categories assessed were the time interval al for return to daily living activities, sensation to light touch, pinprick, Semmes-Weinstein monofilament test of the reconstructed area for sensory evaluation; and results of pedograms (maximal pressure, pressure distribution, and total contact area of the plantar surface). Follow-up periods were between 2 and 14 years, with an average of 6 years. Better sensory results and early return to daily living activities were obsen ed in the sensate flap group, hut the defects were smaller in this group. Despite the slightly longer time to return to daily living activities and worse sensory results, long-term follow-up showed that patients with nonsensate flaps had no difficulty in performing living activities if they continued to be careful and to use some kind of protective shoes. The results of the pedogram analyses were similar between the two groups with regard to total contact area of the reconstructed foot in relation to the healthy foot. Pressure values of the reconstructed areas in sensate flaps were found to be close to pressure values in the same weight ar-eas of the normal foot. The differences between pressure values of the sensate and nonsensate flaps were statistically significant (p < 0.001). Therefore, in reconstruction of the weight-bearing surface of the foot, each case should be evaluated individually. The reconstructive method should be chosen according to thr location and soft-tissue requirements of the defect.