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      Reconstruction of fingers after electrical injury using lateral tarsal artery flap

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          Electrical injuries to the fingers account for the majority of total severe burns that occur each year. While several types of flaps have been used in covering finger defects, all have limitations or disadvantages. The purpose of this study was to introduce our clinical experiences of using the lateral tarsal artery (LTA) flap to successfully restore fingers after electrical injury.

          Patients and methods

          From 2005 to 2012, 10 patients with 14 severe electrical burns to their fingers, including six thumbs and four index and four middle fingers, were treated with LTA flap. The wound size ranged from 2.0×3.0 cm to 3.5×5.0 cm. The flap with free tendon graft was used to repair the tendon defect in four cases, free nerve graft was used to repair the feeling defect in two cases, and the flap with nerve was used to repair the feeling defect in two cases. All the patients were followed up for 3 months to 2 years.


          All skin flaps adhered successfully and there were no complications. All patients were satisfied with the esthetic appearance and functional outcome of the finger reconstruction.


          LTA flap is a reliable method to restore fingers after severe electrical injuries.

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          Most cited references 29

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          Injury by electrical forces: pathophysiology, manifestations, and therapy.

           Richard Lee (1997)
          The pathogenesis and pathophysiologic features of electrical injury are more complex than once thought. The relative contributions of thermal and pure electrical damage depend on the duration of electric current passage, the orientation of the cells in the current path, their location, and other factors. If the contact time is brief, nonthermal mechanisms of cell damage will be most important and the damage is relatively restricted to the cell membrane. When contact time is much longer, however, heat damage predominates and the whole cell is affected directly. These parameters also determine the anatomic tissue distribution of injury. Damage by Joule heating is not known to be dependent on cell size, whereas larger cells are more vulnerable to membrane breakdown by electroporation. Cells do survive transient plasma membrane rupture under appropriate circumstances or if therapy is instituted quickly. If membrane permeabilization is the primary cellular pathologic condition, then injured tissue may be salvageable and the challenge for the future is to identify a technique to reseal the damaged membranes promptly. Present standards of care for electrical injury require a fully staffed and well-equipped intensive care unit, available operating suites, and the availability of the full range of medical specialists. Major teaching hospitals with burn centers may be the ideal setting for the treatment of an electrical trauma victim. After the initial resuscitation, efforts are directed primarily towards preventing additional tissue loss mediated through the compartment syndrome, compressive neuropathies, or the presence of necrotic tissue. Renal and cardiac failure caused by the release of intracellular muscle contents into the circulation must be prevented. Attention can then be directed towards maximizing tissue salvage and preventing late skeletal and neuromuscular complications. Reconstructive procedures that transfer healthy tissue from a distance are necessary to optimize the functional value of the remaining tissue. Finally, unless the patient is rehabilitated psychologically, the real benefit from other sophisticated care will not be fully realized. These goals are important throughout the acute care of the patient. In the future, new guidelines for treating electrical trauma will be based on a clearer understanding of the relevant pathophysiologic features. These strategies will rely on improved diagnostic imaging and on reversing the fundamental problem of cell membrane damage. Moreover, complex biochemical and organ system pathophysiologic interactions will require careful management. If successful, research efforts presently underway should improve the prognosis of victims after electrical trauma.
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            Hand reconstruction using the thin anterolateral thigh flap.

            Perforator flaps have been introduced for various kinds of reconstruction and resurfacing; in particular, the free thin anterolateral thigh flap is becoming one of the most preferred options for reconstruction of soft-tissue defects. Between 1999 and 2002, the authors used this flap as a free flap for nine cases for covering hand defects after burn, crushing injuries, or severe scar contracture release. There were eight men and one woman, the mean age of the patients was 31 years, and the size of the flaps ranged from 7 x 3.5 cm to 15 x 9 cm; thinning was performed in all flaps. All flaps survived completely, and the donor site was closed directly in seven cases; in two cases, the exposed muscle was covered with split-thickness skin graft. The anterolateral thigh flap was thin enough for defects on the dorsum and/or palm of the hand and for first web reconstruction after scar contracture release. It has many advantages in free flap surgery including a long pedicle with a suitable vessel diameter, and the donor-site morbidity is acceptable. The thin anterolateral thigh flap is a versatile soft-tissue flap that achieves good hand contour with low donor-site morbidity.
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              Comparative study of two series of distally based fasciocutaneous flaps for coverage of the lower one-fourth of the leg, the ankle, and the foot.

              Skin defects over the lower one-fourth of the leg and over the foot are difficult to cover. Two types of pedicled fasciocutaneous flaps used to cover such defects were studied: the lateral supramalleolar flap and the distally based sural neurocutaneous flap. The series consisted of 27 and 36 cases, respectively. The lateral supramalleolar flap was used 27 times: for skin defects over the ankle (4), foot (16), and leg (7). The distally based sural neurocutaneous flap was used 42 times: over the foot (24), ankle (13), and leg (5). Fourteen of these patients were 65 years of age or older, and local vascularity was diminished in 16 cases. The flaps were evaluated clinically twice: in the immediate postoperative period for survival or for partial or total flap necrosis, and again to determine the presence of pain at the donor or recipient sites and the cosmetic appearance. Thirty-nine patients (62 percent) were reviewed subsequently, with a mean follow-up of 5 years for the supramalleolar flap and 2 years for the sural neurocutaneous flap. The results were evaluated for the presence or absence of pain, the appearance of the flap, the disability due to the insensate nature of the flap, and the presence or absence of secondary ulceration. Painful neuromata were noted in three cases with the sural neurocutaneous flap, whereas complete necrosis of the supramalleolar artery flap occurred in three patients. The distally based sural neurocutaneous island flap is very reliable, even in debilitated patients. Though the lateral supramalleolar artery flap offers the possibility of covering the same areas as the sural neurocutaneous flap, it is much less reliable in the presence of diminished local vascularity (18.5 percent failure rate as compared with 4.8 percent for the sural neurocutaneous flap). Because the procedure can cover extensive defects and is easy to perform, the distally based sural neurocutaneous flap was the method of choice for covering skin defects over the foot, heel, ankle, and the lower one-fourth of the leg. The lateral supramalleolar artery flap is indicated only when the sural neurocutaneous flap is contraindicated.

                Author and article information

                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Dove Medical Press
                10 July 2017
                : 13
                : 855-861
                Department of Burns Reconstruction Surgery, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan, People’s Republic of China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Xiaoyuan Huang, Department of Burns Reconstruction Surgery, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, 87 Xiangya Road, Changsha, Hunan 410008, People’s Republic of China, Tel +86 731 8432 3013, Email xiaoyuanhuang2015@ 123456163.com
                © 2017 Zhang et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Original Research


                electrical injuries to fingers, lateral tarsal artery flap


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