Gynecologic reconstruction with a rectus abdominis myocutaneous flap: An update

Jay W. Carlson, Jonathan R. Carter, Andrew K. Saltzman, Linda F. Carson, Jeffrey M. Fowler, Leo B. Twiggs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


This series reports the outcomes and significant complications associated with the rectus myocutaneous flap when used for pelvic or inguinal reconstruction in patients with gynecologic cancers. Perioperative variables were retrospectively reviewed to identify social and medical risk factors as well as intraoperative and postoperative complications that predisposed to rectus flap failure. Fifteen patients with gynecologic malignancies underwent reconstructive procedures using a vertically oriented rectus abdominis myocutaneous flap for either vaginal (n = 14) or inguinal (n = 1) reconstruction. The patients' primary cancers were cervical (n = 11), rectal (n = 1), ovarian (n = 1), vulvar (n = 1), and vaginal (n = 1). The median age was 50 years. The median follow-up was 17 months. All flaps were mobilized in conjunction with a radical salvage operation. There were no cases of vaginal prolapse and no abdominal wound infections. However, 4 patients (27%) had major postoperative morbidity in this small series. There was one wound dehiscence and three episodes of necrosis of the subcutaneous and cutaneous portions of the flap. All 4 of these patients required additional operative intervention or debridement. Eleven patients had complete healing of the flap. The rectus abdominis myocutaneous flap is a valuable option for gynecologic reconstructive procedures. Perioperative strategies for improving flap viability include the identification of risk factors that may compromise flap perfusions such as prior abdominal incisions, peripheral vascular disease, and obesity. Meticulous surgical technique is required to preserve the vascular pedicle. These strategies may be useful in preoperative counseling, the perioperative evaluation, and the intraoperative management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)364-368
Number of pages5
JournalGynecologic oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1996


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