Rotational muscle flap closure for acute groin wound infections following vascular surgery

Karl A. Illig, Joseph E. Alkon, Andrew Smith, Jeffrey M. Rhodes, Adam Keefer, Adam Doyle, Joseph Serletti, Cynthia K. Shortell, Mark G. Davies, Richard M. Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Since 1996, 41 patients have presented to our institution with deep but localized groin infection following bypass (30) or isolated femoral artery surgery (11). These patients were treated with antibiotics, debridement, and rotational muscle flap coverage either immediately or within a few days. Patients had one of three patterns: serous leak from a groin incision within a few days of operation (Acute, n = 10), early serous leak that later became grossly infected (Acute-observed, n = 8), or obvious purulent drainage following an initially normal, healed wound (Delayed, n = 23). Patients with early leak had nearly uniformly polymicrobial infections with a preponderance of gram-negative organisms, whereas most of those with late purulence had monobacterial infection with Staphylococcus aureus. At exploration, 26 of 41 suture lines were exposed. Rectus femoris flaps were used in 35 patients (85% of cases) for coverage, and graft preservation was attempted in all 8 vein grafts and 16 of 23 prosthetic grafts. Only one flap failed and there were no instances of anastomotic bleeding. There were no deaths directly attributable to reexploration and flap coverage, although 10 patients died during the index hospitalization. Durable coverage with no long-term evidence of infection was achieved in 24 patients with mean follow-up of 23 (range 10-66) months and another 12 had no evidence of local problems despite shorter follow-up; only 5 patients (12%) overall had evidence of persistent graft infection or unexplained bacteremia. In patients with attempted graft salvage, limb salvage was 97% at 6 months and 85% at 1 year. Although early mortality is high, deaths are not related to the flap procedure itself, local outcome is excellent, and graft and limb salvage are good; results are much worse if an initially draining wound is treated too late. Local rotational muscle flap closure is an excellent solution for acute infections involving the groin following vascular procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)661-668
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Vascular Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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