A systematic review on the use of muscle flaps for deep groin infection following vascular surgery

L.F. Wubbeke, J.W. Elshof, J.Z.M. Conings, M.R. Scheltinga, J.W.H.C. Daemen, B.M.E. Mees*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review

11 Citations (Web of Science)


Objective: The aim of this systematic review is to assess potential differences in effectiveness (graft loss and limb loss) between the sartorius muscle flap (SMF) and the rectus femoris muscle flap (RFF) coverage technique for deep groin wound infection following vascular surgery. Our hypothesis was that RFF reconstruction is more effective in groin coverage.Methods: The PubMed, Embase, and Medline databases were systematically searched by two independent researchers for articles reporting effectiveness of both muscle flaps in the treatment of groin infections following vascular surgery. After quality assessment using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale and Methodological Index for NOn-Randomized studies (MINOR) scores and data extraction, individual results of the included studies were reviewed. Weighted pooled outcome estimates were calculated.Results: A total of 17 studies comprising 544 SMF reconstructions and 238 RFF reconstructions were included. The pooled flap survival rate was 100% in both groups, with a pooled amputation rate of 0% and 2%, respectively. In the RFF group, a pooled 30-day mortality rate of 0% was found, compared with 1% in the SMF group. Pooled graft loss rates were 2% in the RFF group and 21% in the SMF group. Only one head-to-head comparison between both muscle flaps was performed, finding no significant differences.Conclusions: Deep groin infection after vascular surgery can be treated with debridement and local muscle flap coverage. In this systematic review, superiority of either muscle flap on amputation or mortality rates was not demonstrated; however, there was a lower rate of vascular graft loss after RFF reconstruction. These conclusions are based on low-quality evidence because of limited data. Local muscle flap reconstruction using both techniques is effective in the treatment of infected groin wounds, achieving good results in a fragile group of patients. Therefore, anatomical and patient characteristics, which were not assessed in this analysis, are critical in the decision-making process on which muscle flap reconstruction is the best treatment option for an individual patient.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)693-700.e1
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020


  • coverage
  • donor-site morbidity
  • graft infections
  • groin wound reconstruction
  • harvest
  • management
  • outcomes
  • rectus femoris muscle flap
  • sartorius muscle
  • sartorius muscle flap
  • surgical wound infection
  • transposition
  • vascular prosthesis infection
  • wounds
  • Groin wound reconstruction
  • Surgical wound infection
  • Vascular prosthesis infection
  • Sartorius muscle flap
  • Rectus femoris muscle flap

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