Enhanced survival using the distally based sural artery interpolation flap

Terry R. Maffi, James Knoetgen, Norman S. Turner, Steven L. Moran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The reverse sural artery flap is frequently used for reconstruction of the distal third of the leg, ankle, and heel. The major disadvantage of the flap is compression of the pedicle within the subcutaneous tunnel and venous congestion. Others have cited a decrease in this problem by harvesting a midline cuff of gastrocnemius muscle, including more subcutaneous tissue and using a wider-than-usual pedicle. We describe an interpolation flap technique of simply avoiding a subcutaneous tunnel and exteriorizing the pedicle with no other alterations to flap design or elevation techniques. Seven distally based reverse sural artery flaps were performed on ambulatory patients between 2001 and 2002. Venous congestion did not occur in any of the flaps. All patients were ambulatory after surgery and did not require the use of a custom shoe. We conclude that transferring the flap in 2 stages without the use of a tunnel improves the reliability of the flap and eliminates venous congestion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)302-305
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of plastic surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2005


  • Distally based sural artery flap
  • Interpolation flap
  • Venous congestion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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