Muscle flaps in the treatment of osteomyelitis of the lower extremity.J Trauma 2005; 58(5):1019-23JT
Thirty three consecutive patients with chronic osteomyelitis and deficient soft tissue coverage treated with a muscle flap from 1991-1998 were reviewed retrospectively. Osteomyelitis was diagnosed by positive bone cultures and radiographic changes consistent with osteomyelitis. Osteomyelitis was divided into localized <50% diameter: 24 patients and diffuse >50% diameter or infected nonunion: 9 patients. The average age was 38 (18-74). The cause of the osteomyelitis was open fracture 23, closed fracture and open reduction internal fixation 5, gunshot wound 3, burn 1, and chronic venous stasis ulcer 1. Localized osteomyelitis was treated with saucerization and coverage with a free or rotational muscle flap. Pandiaphyseal osteomyelitis was treated with a complete diaphysectomy in 3, and wide saucerization in 2. Twenty three patients were treated with a free flap and 10 with a rotational flap.A reconstructive success was considered a limb that allowed full weight bearing with a stable wound, no drainage and no recurrence of infection. Patients were evaluated for risk factors: malnutrition, renal or liver failure, alcohol abuse, immune deficiency, chronic hypoxia, malignancy, diabetes, age over 70, steroid therapy, tobacco abuse, or drug abuse. Patients were followed an average of 34 months (12-58) after surgery. A reconstructive success was achieved in 91% (20/22) of patients with local osteomyelitis and in 56% (5/9) of patients with diffuse osteomyelitis (p < 0.05). A reconstructive success was achieved in 88% (7/8) patients with no risk factors and in 78% (18/23) of patients with one or more risk factors (not significant p = 0.05).