A reappraisal of the free groin flap in aesthetic craniofacial reconstruction

Claude Muresan, Amir H. Dorafshar, Eduardo DeJesus Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Craniofacial defects are often associated with 3-dimensional volumetric contour deficiencies. The free groin flap was historically popular though technical limitations subsequently caused its use to fall from favor. We sought to determine if a role remained for the free groin flap in aesthetic craniofacial reconstruction. From May 2005 to July 2010, 15 patients had 18 consecutive free groin flaps performed by the senior surgeon at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center and the Johns Hopkins Medical Institute. Data collected included age, sex, operative date, etiology, defect size, recipient vessels, complications, donor-site closure, and follow-up time. Eighteen groin flaps were used for the patient cohort consisting of 10 males and 5 females (mean age, 26 years; range, 18-40 years) who underwent reconstruction necessitated by various oncologic, traumatic, infectious, and congenital etiologies. The average defect size was 7.3 × 6.3 cm (range, 3-10 × 1-10 cm). Seventeen flaps were based on the superficial circumflex iliac vessels and 1 on the superficial inferior epigastric vessels. Seventeen flaps used the superficial temporal artery and vein as the recipient vessels, and the remaining flap used the superior thyroid artery and retromandibular vein. Of the 18 flaps, 17 survived (94% survival rate). All donor sites were closed primarily. Follow-up time ranged from 6 to 60 months. The free groin flap is generally underused in the reconstruction of complex craniofacial facial defects. Its unique characteristics and minimal donor-site morbidity should prompt the reconstructive surgeon to retain the free groin flap in his or her armamentarium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-179
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of plastic surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Groin flap
  • SCIA
  • SCIP
  • SIEA
  • aesthetic contouring
  • craniofacial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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