Purpose To report the clinical outcomes from 2 academic centers of the flexor carpi ulnaris (FCU) flap for coverage of posterior elbow soft tissue defects. Methods We retrospectively reviewed 17 patients who underwent an FCU flap for posterior elbow wound reconstruction over an 8-year period at 2 academic centers. Outcome measures included visual analog score for pain; Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand score; Mayo Elbow Performance score; range of motion; wound healing; grip strength; and isokinetic dynamometry for wrist flexion. Wilcoxon signed-rank test was used to make side-to-side comparisons between the operative and nonsurgical extremities, and nonparametric statistical methods were used to analyze results. Results All wounds healed successfully without need for revision surgery. Average visual analog, Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand, and Mayo Elbow Performance scores in the operative elbow were 1.8, 34, and 86, respectively. Average elbow arc of motion was 11° to 140° with 70° forearm pronation and 73° forearm supination. Compared with the nonsurgical side, grip strength on the operated side was 97% and wrist flexion peak torque was 89%. The operative limb had an average wrist flexion fatigue of 7%, compared with 22% for the nonsurgical arm. Conclusions Patients receiving an FCU flap had reliable healing, minimal pain, good functional outcomes, and no meaningful deficits in grip strength or wrist flexion strength. Type of study/level of evidence Therapeutic IV.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine