Trends in flap reconstruction of pelvic oncologic defects: Analysis of the national inpatient sample

Matthew R. Zeiderman, Miriam Nuño, David E. Sahar, Linda M. Farkas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Flap reconstruction of radiated pelvic oncologic defects decreases perineal wound-healing complications. How widely and how often reconstructions are performed, and how technical mastery and improved perioperative care has affected outcomes, is unknown. Our objective is to 1) provide a comprehensive evaluation of national trends in flap reconstruction of pelvic oncologic defects and 2) compare complications and length of stay (LOS) in patients with/without reconstruction. Methods: The National Inpatient Sample (NIS) database was queried (1998–2014) for patients diagnosed with cancer, primarily of the rectum and anus, who underwent abdominoperineal resection (APR) or pelvic exenteration (PE). Differences in complications and LOS were compared between patients with flap reconstruction versus primary closure. Regional and hospital outcomes were also analyzed. Results: The cohort included 117,923 adult patients; 3,673 (3.1%) underwent flap reconstruction. Flap reconstruction rates increased from 0.8% in 1998 to 9.8% in 2014. Extirpative procedures decreased 37.4% from 1998 to 2014. Flap reconstruction decreased risk of wound breakdown (OR 0.87; p = 0.0029) and need for secondary closure of dehiscence (OR 0.82; p = 0.0023) between periods 1998–2009 and 2010–2014. Median LOS was higher for flap patients (median [IQR] of 9.8 [7.2,14.8] vs. 7.9 [6.1–11.0; p < 0.0001) and decreased over time. Conclusions: The use of flap reconstruction for pelvic oncologic defects increased from 1998 to 2014, with a reduction in LOS. Following flap reconstruction, overall complications are higher, but wound breakdown and dehiscence requiring reclosure are decreasing, suggesting technique maturation. We anticipate flap reconstruction rates will increase with further improvement in patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2085-2094
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Abdominoperineal resection
  • Anal cancer
  • carcinoma
  • Colon cancer
  • colorectal cancer
  • Flap reconstruction pelvis
  • National inpatient sample
  • Nis
  • Pelvic radiation
  • Pelvic reconstruction
  • Perineal reconstruction
  • Rectal cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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