Reconstruction of combined loss of the Achilles tendon and overlying soft tissue was performed using an antero-lateral thigh free flap in three patients. The cutaneous portion is used to cover the open wound, and a piece of fascia lata is utilised to replace the missing segment of the Achilles tendon. The skin defect ranged from 5 x 2.5 to 7 x 5 cm, and the tendon loss measured from 3.5 to 5.5 cm in length. All of the patients showed satisfactory functional results with a follow-up period from 3 to 9 months. The advantages of the procedure are that: it is a single-staged operation; it promotes rapid healing of the tendo Achilles since the tendon substitute is well vascularised; it is adaptable to a wide range of defect sizes and shapes; it can be performed in the supine position without the need for postural change; and it can restore good contour and causes minimal morbidity at the donor site. (C) 2000 The British Association of Plastic Surgeons.
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