Flap Reconstruction

Wound Care and Foot & Ankle Specialist located in Mission Viejo, CA

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Flap Reconstruction

You may not be familiar with flap reconstruction, also called orthoplastic surgery, but this technique is a game changer if you have a foot, ankle, or lower leg wound that can’t heal. Board-certified podiatric surgeon and wound care expert Thomas Rambacher, DPM, FACFAS, FAPWCA, at Foot Ankle Leg Wound Care Orange County in Mission Viejo, California, is highly specialized in flap reconstruction and one of the few physicians in the region who offers the procedure. To learn more, call the office or request an appointment online to see how flap reconstruction can help your wound heal.

Flap Reconstruction Q&A

What is flap reconstruction?

Health conditions like diabetes, clogged leg arteries, and venous disease restrict blood flow, resulting in dangerous wounds. These wounds (ulcers) can’t heal because they lack oxygen-rich blood, and as a result, they keep expanding.

Some wounds expand outward, enlarging as the tissues around the wound’s edge break down. Other ulcers go deep, creating a hole as the tissues below the surface deteriorate and erode.

Both types create open sores that can’t close because the skin is gone. Leaving them open leads to wounds and skin and bone infections. The solution is flap reconstruction, a surgical wound care procedure to cover the wound.

What are the benefits of flap reconstruction?

During flap reconstruction, Dr. Rambacher removes a patch of skin from one body area and uses it to cover the wound. Most importantly, the flap retains its original blood supply, allowing it to thrive after it’s moved and close your wound.

The flap may also include the underlying muscle, fat, connective tissues, and even bones if needed. Dr. Rambacher customizes your flap based on the depth and physical needs of your wound.

Are there different flap reconstruction procedures?

Three commonly used flap reconstruction procedures are:

Local flap

The donor site is next to the wound, allowing the flap to stay attached at one end (keeping the blood supply intact). Dr. Rambacher only needs to turn it to its new location.

Regional flap

In this procedure, the flap is near the wound but not next to it. The flap only stays connected to a primary blood vessel so the tissue can be moved to the wound.

Microvascular free flap

Dr. Rambacher detaches the skin and blood vessels from the donor site and performs microsurgery to reattach the blood vessels at the flap’s new location over your wound.

What happens during recovery from flap reconstruction?

Dr. Rambacher gives you detailed self-care instructions for your recovery. The most important part is taking time to rest and limiting your movement while the flap heals.

You’ll need to plan on taking time off from work, household tasks, and other daily activities, giving the flap time to fully heal before you return to your usual activities. If you’re too active too soon, the flap may not be able to establish its blood supply or attach to the new site.

If you need treatment for a non-healing foot or lower leg wound, call Foot Ankle Leg Wound Care Orange County or request an appointment online today.