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Skin and soft tissue defect of the ankle usually mandates flap reconstruction; however, bulky flap and difficulty ambulance have been the major disadvantages after flap reconstruction of this area. We used the concept of full-thickness skin graft as a 1-stage method of secondary debulking procedure to achieve both aesthetic and functional results.
Since January of 2004 to June of 2016, 22 one-stage secondary debulking procedures were performed on 22 patients who had received reconstruction with flaps for ankle defects. Nineteen cases were free myocutaneous flaps, 2 cases were free fasciocutaneous flaps, and 1 case was a distally based sural artery flap. In the operative technique, the full-thickness skin was harvested from the flap and regrafted on the defatted fascia with tie-over dressing. The functional and cosmetic outcomes as well as complications were reviewed.
The overall mean follow-up time was 12 months. After the debulking procedure, all of the grafted skins took well. The patients were able to wear their own shoes without difficulty and regained ease of ambulation. The reconstructed area was found to decrease to an average of 28.92% as compared with predebulking area. The reconstructed ankles achieve good symmetry with regard to the contralateral side (P < 0.05). All of the patients were satisfied with the results of the reconstructed ankles.
The 1-stage secondary debulking procedure is a safe and reproducible technique that achieves good functional and aesthetic outcomes after flap reconstruction of the ankle.

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