Free tissue transfer in patients with renal disease

Steven L. Moran, Christopher J. Salgado, Joseph M. Serletti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Several authors have cited renal disease as a risk factor for free flap failure. The authors performed a retrospective analysis of all patients who underwent free tissue transfer with concomitant renal disease, including acute renal failure, end-stage renal disease, chronic renal insufficiency, and functional kidney transplants, to determine what effect renal disease has on flap survival and overall reconstructive outcome. More than 1053 free flaps were examined. Renal disease was identified in 32 patients who underwent 33 free tissue transfers. Average patient age was 57 years (range, 36 to 80 years). Twelve patients (38 percent) were on chronic dialysis (end-stage renal disease), 18 patients (56 percent) had chronic renal insufficiency, and three patients (9 percent) had the diagnosis of acute renal failure at the time of surgery. Three patients in the chronic renal insufficiency group had a functioning renal transplant. Average follow-up was 16 months. Immediate postoperative complications occurred in 14 patients (42 percent of the 33 flaps). Overall perioperative mortality was 3 percent. Within the first 30 days there were two cases (6 percent) of primary flap failure; an additional four legs were lost as the result of complications related to their bypass grafts. There were no primary flap failures after 30 days; however, within the first year after surgery an additional seven limbs were lost as the result of progressive ischemia or infection, and an additional three patients died. This resulted in a 52 percent incidence of major morbidity or mortality during the first year and a 55 percent reconstructive success rate in survivors at 1 year. No significant difference was seen in postoperative morbidity or mortality when comparing the end-stage renal disease group to the chronic renal insufficiency group; however, patients with renal disease and diabetes tended to have poorer outcomes. Renal disease, especially renal disease associated with diabetes and peripheral vascular disease, can be a strong indicator of possible reconstructive failure. The surgeon and patient should be aware of the medical and surgical complications associated with this procedure at the outset.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2006-2011
Number of pages6
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jun 1 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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