Split pectoralis major flaps for mediastinal wound coverage: A 12-year experience

Edward N. Li, Nelson H. Goldberg, Sheri Slezak, Ronald P. Silverman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Poststernotomy mediastinitis is an infrequent but highly dangerous complication following median sternotomy. Typically, such wounds are debrided aggressively of necrotic and foreign materials with subsequent flap reconstruction. Between December 1989 and January 2002, 69 patients were referred to the University of Maryland division of plastic surgery for mediastinal wound coverage. A total of 105 flaps of various types were used. Fifty-eight percent of the patients received a single flap. Ninety percent of the flaps used were pectoralis major flaps, whereas only 10% of the flaps were rectus abdominis, latissimus dorsi, or omentum flaps. Ten patients (14.5%) required reoperation. The most common comorbidity was diabetes mellitus. Those patients with diabetes mellitus were 9.1 times more likely to require reoperation after their sternal reconstruction compared with nondiabetic patients (95% confidence interval, 2.1-40.4). Four patients (5.8%) died less than 30 days from their flap procedure. The flap of first choice used in this series is the pectoralis major turnover flap, which is harvested in its entirety and split in the direction of its muscle fibers. Taking the entire muscle allows better coverage of the lower portion of the incision, resulting in far less frequent need for abdominal flaps and their associated morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)334-337
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of plastic surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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