Rectus abdominis myocutaneous flap for primary vaginal reconstruction

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Reconstructive procedures are being performed with increasing frequency in conjunction with pelvic exenterations and other radical gynecologic surgeries. The most common reconstructive procedures include continent urinary diversion, rectosigmoid anastomosis, and vaginal reconstruction. Historically, the gracilis myocutaneous flap has been the procedure of choice for vaginal reconstruction. However, the gracilis myocutaneous flap has a history of partial to severe necrosis, a propensity to prolapse, and leaves ipsilateral donor scars on the thigh. In contrast, neovaginal reconstruction using a relatively new procedure, the distally based rectus abdominis myocutaneous flaps, has the advantage of using a large, single flap that can be incorporated into the primary incision. This flap is mobilized on a long vascular pedicle, the rectus muscle. In relation to the underlying rectus muscle, the orientation of the cutaneous portion of this flap may be customized to accommodate the pelvic defect or the surgeon's preference. Depending on their primary orientation, they are referred to as either a vertical or transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous flap. The versatility and reliability of the rectus flap is demonstrated here through the presentation of a small pilot series of seven patients. The technique was used for vaginal reconstruction, primarily in conjunction with pelvic exenteration. The flaps were mobilized from the supraumbilical area and had a flap viability of 100% for the 2 years that they have been followed. There were no postoperative incisional or flap infections. There was one infraumbilical fascial dehiscence. The advantages of primary pelvic reconstruction along with the description of the operative techniques are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-329
Number of pages7
JournalGynecologic oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1993


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