Free perforator flaps in children.

K. Van Landuyt, Moustapha Hamdi, P.n. Blondeel, P. Tonnard, A. Verpaele, S. Monstrey

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63 Citations (Scopus)



Raising perforator flaps is said to be a tedious procedure. The benefits, however, are great. In adults, perforator flaps have proved their usefulness and reliability in various clinical situations. In children, donor sites for free flaps are particularly scarce because of the need for a long and reliable vascular pedicle of sufficient size. There is also the need to minimize donor-site morbidity from aesthetic, functional, and psychological perspectives.


The authors present a series of 23 consecutive free perforator flaps performed by the first author in 20 children; ages at the time of operation ranged from premature (born at 28 weeks) to 16 years (mean age, 7 years 5 months). Three children presented with upper limb defects; the remaining 17 children sustained major soft-tissue defects of the lower limb. All the lesions necessitated extensive coverage with a free flap. Flaps used in this series included nine deep inferior epigastric artery perforator flaps, seven thoracodorsal artery perforator flaps, and seven compound ("chimera") thoracodorsal artery perforator flaps.


All flaps but one were successful. With a follow-up of up to 7 years, the results in this series compare favorably with those of perforator flaps in adults or pediatric free flaps in the literature.


In children, as in adults, perforator flaps are a valuable alternative to the traditional muscle or myocutaneous free flap. Because of the added advantage of reducing donor-site morbidity, perforator flaps have become the authors' preferred option in reconstructive cases in children.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-169
Number of pages11
JournalPlast Reconstr Surg
Issue numberJuly
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, preschool
  • Female
  • Foot injuries
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, newborn
  • Infant, premature
  • Male
  • Meningococcal Infections
  • Necrosis
  • Sepsis
  • Soft Tissue Injuries
  • Surgical Flaps
  • Tissue and Organ Harvesting


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