Research Article| Volume 60, ISSUE 4, P372-378, April 2007

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Choice of flap for the management of deep sternal wound infection – an anatomical classification

Published:January 22, 2007DOI:



      Infection of a median sternotomy wound is a rare albeit potentially fatal complication because of the risk of mediastinitis and deep sternal wound infection. Current treatment of deep sternal wound infection comprises antibiotics, debridement and transposition of muscle or omental flaps to fill the anterior mediastinal dead space.


      A retrospective analysis of the deep sternal wound infections treated in our unit over a nine-year period was performed.


      Out of the 11 903 consecutive coronary artery bypass graft procedures performed, 27 patients were referred to plastic surgery for management of deep sternal wound infection with flaps. Wounds were classified based on their location on the sternum as type A (upper ½), B (lower ½) or C (whole of sternum). Five patients had type A wounds, 12 type B wounds and 10 type C wounds. The mean age was 68 years and the M:F ratio was 20:7.
      We describe guidelines for the choice of flap for sternal wound reconstruction, according to the anatomical site of the wound dehiscence.


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