Reconstruction of complex hemipelvectomy defects: A 17-year single-institutional experience with lower extremity free and pedicled fillet flaps

Lucas Kreutz-Rodrigues, Jason M. Weissler, Steven L. Moran, Brian T. Carlsen, Samir Mardini, Matthew T. Houdek, Peter S. Rose, Karim Bakri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Hemipelvectomy procedures result in massive soft tissue defects. The standard approach is to reconstruct the defect with anterior or posterior hemipelvectomy flaps. Certain situations preclude the use of local tissue flaps, and an alternative is the use of leg fillet flaps, circumferential pedicled or free flaps harvested from the amputated part. The purpose of this study is to present our institution's experience with using pedicled and free fillet flaps to reconstruct hemipelvectomy soft tissue defects. Methods: We performed a retrospective chart review of patients who underwent hemipelvectomy and fillet flap reconstruction from 2001 to 2018. Demographics, clinical and surgical characteristics, postoperative outcomes, and complications of patients were reviewed. Results: Ten patients were identified and included. Their mean age was 51 ± SD 12.4 years. Six patients underwent standard external hemipelvectomy and 4 patients underwent extended external hemipelvectomy. Seven lower extremity fillet flaps were performed as free tissue transfers, and 3 were pedicled flaps. The mean flap size was 1,153 ± SD 1137 cm2. The mean follow-up was 5 months (range: 1–24 months). Five patients developed postoperative complications; none of them required operative intervention. There were no partial or total flap losses postoperatively. Conclusion: Reconstruction with pedicled or free lower extremity fillet flaps is a valuable reconstructive approach, for managing large soft tissue defects following hemipelvectomy when the standard anterior and posterior thigh flaps are unavailable or inadequate for complete soft tissue coverage. This useful technique mitigates donor site morbidity, while simultaneously achieving massive soft tissue coverage with an acceptable complication profile.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)242-254
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2020


  • Fillet flap
  • Free flap
  • Hemipelvectomy
  • Limb reconstruction
  • Lower extremity
  • Lower limb

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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