Can infected prosthetic grafts be salvaged with rotational muscle flaps?

B. A. Perler, C. A. Vander Kolk, C. R. Dufresne, G. M. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


The conventional approach to prosthetic graft infection, including graft removal and extraanatomic reconstruction, conveys a substantial risk of limb loss and death and mandates more innovative solutions. From January 1985 to January 1989 eight rotational muscle flaps were performed on four men and three women with prosthetic graft infection who ranged in age from 42 to 79 years (mean, 67 years). The grafts involved included aortofemoral (three patients), femoropopliteal (two patients), femorofemoral (one patient), and subclavian-carotid-carotid (one patient) and were composed of Dacron (five grafts) or polytetrafluoroethylene (two grafts). Infections were in the groin in six patients and in the neck in the other patient; all patients had anastomotic exposure. Clinical presentations included abscess/purulent drainage (four patients), anastomotic hemorrhage (two patients), and anastomotic false aneurysm (one patient) and was associated with fever and/or leukocytosis in all patients. Positive bacterial cultures were obtained from all patients. Rotational muscle flaps performed included rectus abdominis (five grafts), pectoralis major (one graft), gracilis (one graft), tensor fascia lata (one graft); in two patients, rotational muscle flaps were performed after failed local sartorius muscle transfer. No major complications of the RMF procedures were encountered. One patient died 4 months after the operation of complications of ischemic colitis/perforation. The other six patients were discharged with completely healed wounds. One patient developed recurrent infection 12 months after the rotational muscle flap procedure; five (83%) patients have been followed for 12 to 51 months (mean, 27 months) without evidence of recurrent infection. These preliminary results suggest that rotational muscle flaps are a safe and effective treatment for prosthetic graft infection, even when local sartorius muscle coverage has failed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-34
Number of pages5
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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