A myocutaneous flap is a type of autologous graft, which consists of tissue taken from a patient and used on that patient’s own body. As the name implies, this graft includes skin and muscle. Myocutaneous flaps can be used in a wide variety of surgical procedures by people like plastic surgeons and burn specialists. If a patient is a good candidate for a procedure involving an autologous graft, the surgeon will discuss the procedure and what you can expect to help the patient prepare.
In a free flap procedure, the surgeon cuts a graft from one area of the body and transfers it to another. For example, if a patient lacks skin on the arm as a result of a burn injury, the surgeon may cut a flap from the leg. Rotated flaps bear to cut out a myocutaneous flap while allowing part of the tissue to attach. The flap is rotated to cover the area of concern and then sewn into place. This technique allows the grafted tissue to retain its blood supply while it heals and can improve the patient’s outcome.
There are many benefits to using autologous grafts, as they are an available option. The risk of rejection is reduced, as are concerns about the risk of disease transmission. The color and texture of the skin can be a better match, making the graft area less obvious, and the tissue is as fresh and healthy as it can be, which also limits rejection risk. By taking the skin and underlying muscle blood supply into a myocutaneous flap, a surgeon can increase the chances of smooth healing.
Patients preparing for a myocutaneous flap procedure should know that they will be placed under anesthesia for the procedure. It is possible to cut the graft in a technique known as netting to extend it, limiting the amount of tissue to be removed. The harvest area will eventually heal and grow new skin. During the healing process, it is critically important to take care of both the graft and harvest sites to limit the risk of infection and reduce the chances of graft rejection.
When a myocutaneous flap is successful, it will be thoroughly soaked with blood and capable of repairing damage, inflicting damage from sun exposure, and undergoing others change with age, just like the skin of the rest of the body. However, a myocutaneous graft will have no sensation because it is not possible to graft on the nerves.
- Skin or muscle is transferred from one area of a patient’s body to another referred to as a myocutaneous flap.