This guide summarises the keystone perforator island flap (KPIF) in lower limb reconstruction from the groin to the ankle.
Depending on the anatomical site and the dermatome locations, the KPIF can be rhomboidal or rectangular in shape. Gillies principle of reconstructing tissue defects using ‘like with like’ is integral to the KPIF’s ability to provide an aesthetic reconstruction.
An absolute prerequisite for this technique is to have the KPIF ‘fascial lined’. The flap can be undermined by up to two thirds. The flap’s longitudinal axis is orientated parallel to and along the dermatomal precincts.
The controversial aspect of creating an island in the skin and subcutaneous tissue only has the dynamic effect of forcing the circulation to the random perforator support and eliminating the subdermal plexus.
The vascular reaction of this islanding is illustrated by the hyperaemia that is consistently observed, suggesting an increase in blood flow. The clinical sign of this hyperaemia, termed the ‘red dot sign’, is that it bleeds more on the flap side than the receiving side. This hypervascularity allows closure of the flap under tension.
The clinical characteristics are best summarised by the acronym PACE which refers to:
|Pain:||The procedure is relatively pain free.|
|Aesthetic:||Using the ‘next best tissue’ gives an acceptable aesthetic outcome.|
|Complications:||From a vascular viewpoint complications are rare but sometimes premature rupture occurs at the suture site of tensional closure.|
|Economics:||The timeframe for the procedure is relatively short (1-2 hours) compared to alternative methods of reconstruction and postoperative vascular surveillance and monitoring are not necessary.|
A video describing key procedural steps of Felix Behan's KPIF technique for lower limb reconstructions can be found on the AJOPS YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/cwmFD4mucwo
In summary, the acronym PACES unifies the KPIF concept—a relatively pain-free postoperative phase, good aesthetic outcome, low complication rates, efficient timeframe—and finally, the regaining of topical sensation.
Felix Behan MBBS FRACS FRCS
Associate Professor, Department of Surgery, St Vincent’s Hospital, University of Melbourne, Fitzroy, Victoria, AUSTRALIA
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- Behan FC, Rozen WM, Kapila S, Ng SK. Two for the price of one: a keystone design equals two conjoined flaps. ANZ J Surg. 2011 June;81(6):405–06. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1445-2197.2011.05772.x PMid:22022822
- Behan FC, Rozen WM, Tan S. Yin–yang flaps: the mathematics of two keystone island flaps for reconstructing increasingly large defects. ANZ J Surg. 2011;81:574–75. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1445-2197.2011.05814.x PMid:22295411
- Behan FC, Rozen WM, Lo CH, Findlay M. The omega—Ω— variant designs (types A and B) of the keystone perforator island flap. ANZ J Surg. 2011;81:650–52. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1445-2197.2011.05833.x PMid:22295410
- Behan FC, Findlay MW and Lo CH. The keystone perforator island flap concept. Chatswood, Sydney: Elsevier Australia, 2012.
- Shayan R, Behan FC. Re the ‘keystone concept’: time for some science. ANZ J Surg. 2013;83:499–500. https://doi.org/10.1111/ans.12303 PMid:24049789
- Behan FC. Surgical tips and skills. Sydney: Churchill Livingstone, 2014.
Citation: Behan F. How to do lower limb reconstruction using the keystone perforator island flap. Australas J Plast Surg. 2021;4(2):105–107.
Published: 30 September 2021
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