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Successful management of recalcitrant infection related to total hip replacement using pedicled rectus femoris or vastus lateralis muscle flaps

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Deep prosthetic joint infection remains an uncommon but serious complication of total hip replacement. We reviewed 24 patients with recalcitrant hip wounds following infected total hip replacement treated with either pedicled rectus femoris or vastus lateralis muscle flaps between 1998 and 2009. The mean age of the patients was 67.4 years (42 to 86) with ten men and 14 women.

There had been a mean of four (1 to 8) previous attempts to close the wound. A total of 20 rectus femoris and five vastus lateralis flaps were used, with one of each type of flap failing and requiring further reconstruction. All patients had positive microbiology. At a mean follow-up of 47 months (9 to 128), 22 patients had a healed wound and two had a persistent sinus. The prosthesis had been retained in five patients. In the remainder it had been removed, and subsequently re-implanted in nine patients. Six patients continued to take antibiotics at final follow-up.

This series demonstrates the effectiveness of pedicled muscle flaps in healing these infected wounds. The high number of previous debridements suggests that these flaps could have been used earlier.

Correspondence should be sent to Mr R. Choa; e-mail: rob_choa@hotmail.com

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