Research Article| Volume 65, ISSUE 9, P1158-1164, September 2012

Repairing proximal and middle lower-leg wounds with retrograde sartorius myocutaneous flap pedicled by perforating branches of medial inferior genicular artery or posterior tibial artery

Published:April 23, 2012DOI:


      Background and objectives

      The blood supply of the lower one-third of the sartorius muscle is mainly provided by the descending genicular artery (saphenous artery). The terminal branches of the saphenous artery, together with the perforators of the posterior tibial artery and medial inferior genicular artery, form a stable and rich anastomotic network in the genus inferior medialis. Based on this anatomy, we designed a retrograde sartorius myocutaneous flap to repair wounds in the proximal and middle thirds of the lower leg.


      A sartorius myocutaneous flap with the posterior tibial (or medial inferior genicular) artery perforators as the pedicle was designed. The flap was based on a retrograde flow route: medial inferior genicular and posterior tibial artery perforators, the vascular network at the inferomedial knee, the saphenous artery, saphenous artery perforators, to the sartorius muscle. With this design, the flap can be transferred to the middle and proximal tibia. Between January 2007 and June 2010, 12 patients with middle/proximal lower-leg wounds were successfully treated with this method.


      Ten of 12 myocutaneous flaps survived with primary healing of wounds. Two cases developed a small degree of distal superficial skin necrosis but with normal muscular blood supply and healed after conservative treatment.


      Retrograde sartorius myocutaneous pedicle flaps from the perforating branches of the medial inferior genicular artery or posterior tibial artery have advantages in terms of reliable blood supply, ease of operation and minimal amount of damage, and can be used to repair proximal and middle lower-leg wounds. They are especially applicable when lower-leg flaps are unavailable due to poor soft-tissue conditions following trauma or multiple operations. However, the safety flap size needs to be determined in future studies.


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