Comparison of keystone flaps and skin grafts for oncologic reconstruction: A retrospective review

Halley Darrach, George Kokosis, Kelly Bridgham, Jill P. Stone, Julie R Lange, Justin Michael Sacks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background and Objectives: Two common options for the closure of complex defects are local flaps and skin grafting. The keystone flap, a fasciocutaneous flap based on perforators, has demonstrated compelling ease of use, reproducibility, and low complication rates without requiring a distant donor site. Our objective for this study was to compare postoperative outcomes for keystone flaps and skin grafts in cancer resection. Methods: A retrospective review was conducted of patients undergoing keystone flap closure or skin grafting for soft tissue defects resulting from cancer resection at a single institution from June 2017 to June 2018. Patient demographics, operative indications, length of stay, time to heal, and complications were reviewed. Results: A total of 34 patients were identified having undergone either keystone reconstruction (n = 16) or skin graft (n = 18) after oncologic resection. Patients undergoing keystone flap reconstruction had significantly shorter mobility restriction and healing times. Length of hospital stay and overall complication rates were not significantly different. Conclusion: The keystone flap is an adaptable tool that can safely be used for the coverage of complex defects with faster healing, shorter mobility restriction, and comparable complication rates to skin grafting without the need for a distant donor site.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Surgical Oncology
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • complex closure
  • Keystone flap
  • melanoma
  • sarcoma
  • skin graft

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology


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