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Selection of deep or superficial recipient vein in lower extremity reconstruction using free flap: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Microsurgery. 2022 Aug 5. doi: 10.1002/micr.30946. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Free flap surgeries are useful procedures for lower-extremity reconstruction. Recipient vein selection for anastomosis is important to avoid venous congestion and thrombosis. Although deep or superficial venous system can be used as a recipient vein site, there is a lack of consensus on which system would be superior to avoid postoperative complications. This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to assess the differences in outcomes between deep and superficial vein anastomosis for lower-extremity free flap reconstruction.

METHODS: The PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library medical databases were systematically searched from inception to April 2022, in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses guidelines. A comparative meta-analysis was conducted on studies of deep and superficial venous system anastomosis outcomes, comprising vascular thrombosis, reoperation, complete flap necrosis, and any flap necrosis. The fixed-effects meta-analysis model was used when low heterogeneity (I2 < 50%) was present.

RESULTS: Six studies with 789 flaps were included in the analysis and qualitative and quantitative syntheses. The rate of vascular thrombosis (8.2% vs. 15.1%; p = .005) was significantly lower for flaps involving deep vein anastomosis than for those involving superficial vein anastomosis. The rate of reoperation after deep vein anastomosis was lower than that after superficial vein anastomosis, with no statistically significant difference (9.0% vs. 14.7%; p = .06). There were no significant differences in the rates of complete (2.5% vs. 2.0%; p = .90) or any flap necrosis (7.0% vs. 9.8%; p = .20).

CONCLUSION: Deep vein anastomosis might be recommended for avoiding vascular thrombosis.

PMID:35930261 | DOI:10.1002/micr.30946

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