Limb Salvage Surgery
Dr. Patel can often use microsurgical techniques to salvage or restore threatened limbs, whether the damage is caused by trauma, diabetes, or other diseases. The restoration of proper blood flow may help patients avoid amputation.
Even in patients with vascular disease, Dr. Patel is able to reconstruct soft tissue through skin transplantation. He works closely with talented doctors and surgeons who specialize in other disciplines, such as vascular surgery, podiatry, and orthopedics to offer the best chance of preserving or restoring mobility and quality of life.
Limb salvage surgery can treat:
- Vascular issues
- Foot deformity
- Bone issues
- Diabetic wounds and feet
Am I a candidate for limb salvage surgery?
Limb salvage surgery may help:
- Patients with chronic wounds that have been open for several months or have underlying bone infections. Dr. Patel uses innovative microsurgical and super-microsurgical techniques to transplant small pieces of tissue to the foot and ankle. The surgery closes the wound and creates the ideal conditions for bone to heal.
- Patients with trauma, exposed bone, or exposed vital structures. Typically, these wounds won’t heal on their own. Dr. Patel uses innovative flap surgery techniques that can allow a wound to close and heal faster than with traditional wound care methods.
What is flap surgery?
Dr. Patel takes tissue from one of several areas around the body, using microsurgical techniques to nourish the new tissue and help ensure the best possible results.
Whenever possible, he takes tissue from places that most closely match the area of the wound, and uses that tissue to repair and reshape the affected area.
For example, on the foot and ankle, the skin is very thin, so Dr. Patel matches this by taking thin flaps from the groin or thigh region. This allows for a better contour and easier fit with shoes. Dr. Patel is one of the most experienced surgeons in the United States with doing ultra-thin flaps that better match the contours of the foot and ankle.
Is flap surgery different than a graft?
Yes. A skin graft has no blood supply, which means the survival of the graft depends on new blood vessels growing.
A flap surgery brings intact blood vessels with the transplanted tissue. Dr. Patel uses microsurgical techniques to connect the new blood vessels to existing blood vessels in the area, meaning that the new skin has a much better chance of thriving.
How long are flap surgeries?
Surgery usually takes 4–6 hours, though if there are bone- or tendon-related issues, the surgery may take longer. Dr. Patel may also partner with another specialist such as an orthopedic surgeon, podiatrist, or vascular surgeon.
After a flap surgery, patients usually stay in the hospital for about a week to ensure that the flap heals and joins well with the surrounding tissues.