The anatomy of forearm free flap phalloplasty for transgender surgery

S. Kim, M. Dennis, J. Holland, M. Terrell, M. Loukas, J. Schober

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Transgender surgeries are becoming more frequent and visual interpretation of anatomy is essential for both surgeons and patients. Since the forearm free flap phalloplasty was introduced in 1984, it has been known to provide reliable cosmetic and functional results for transitioning men compared with phalloplasty by different flaps. Surgical text descriptions were enhanced by the creation of new anatomic illustrations. The forearm free flap consists of the anterior forearm skin, subcutaneous tissue, fascia containing the radial artery as the perforator and its venae comitantes, cephalic and basilic veins, and lateral and medial antebrachial cutaneous nerves are demonstrated in relation to the surgically derived flap. Song's forearm free flap phalloplasty requires two surgical stages with a three-month interval between the stages: prelamination of a neourethra and construction of a neophallus. The neophallus created by forearm flap phalloplasty is reported to achieve acceptable aesthetical and psychological satisfaction, appropriate size and shape, and satisfying sexual intercourse. Despite increasing experiences in gender confirming surgery with modifications made by many authors, urethral complications including fistula and/or stricture formation are the leading causes of reoperation. The poor esthetic outcome of the forearm donor site and a decrease in rigidity of the neophallus are the main limitations. Illustrations of anatomy help inform surgical choice and understanding of risks and benefits by patients. The anatomy of the free forearm flap phalloplasty supports creation of a neophallus for transsexual anatomy revision. Clin. Anat. 31:145–151, 2018.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-151
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Anatomy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • forearm
  • graft
  • neophallus
  • phalloplasty
  • scar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology


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