Published: 2017-06-23

Cross leg flaps: are they relevant in the present era?

Mahadevan K., Charan J. C., Sridevi S.


Background: Injuries of lower limb due to road traffic accidents are challenging to reconstruct due to paucity of tissues and damage to vasculature. Recurrent trophic ulcers are also difficult to reconstruct due to stigmata of previous surgeries. When local and regional flaps are not available, free flaps become the best option. The success of free flap depends on the presence of healthy recipient vessels and microsurgical expertise. In cases where the free flaps have failed or when there is no available soft tissue for local flaps, cross leg flaps are a method of resurfacing and salvaging the limb.

Methods: This Study was done from January 2013 to January 2016 in Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, Chennai. 20 patients were included in the study and the flaps used were conventional cross leg and cross leg reverse superficial sural artery flap.

Results: All flaps survived. There was one case of wound dehiscence managed by re-insetting, two cases with marginal necrosis which were managed conservatively. One case of partial loss which was managed by STSG and one case of sinus formation due to tuberculosis managed with ATT. Remaining flaps had no complications.

Conclusions: Cross leg flaps are still relevant in the present era of microsurgery. They can be the primary choice of reconstruction or as a workhorse when free flaps have failed or other loco regional flaps are already exhausted. Immobilisation and two stage reconstruction are few disadvantages which when weighed against limb salvage are acceptable. 


Cross leg flap, Lower limb trauma, trophic ulcer, Limb salvage

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