Flap monitoring with incisional negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) in diabetic foot patients

Jun Ho Park, Ji Ung Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Various types of flaps are considered as reconstructive options for patients with diabetic foot ulcer. However, flap reconstruction for diabetic foot ulcer treatment is particularly challenging because of the relatively limited collateral perfusion in the distal lower extremity. This study evaluated the efficacy and safety of a novel postoperative monitoring procedure implemented in conjunction with negative pressure wound therapy immediately after flap operations for treating diabetic foot. A retrospective analysis was performed on diabetic foot patients who underwent free flaps and perforator flaps from March 2019 through August 2021. The surgical outcomes of interest were the rates of survival and complications. On the third postoperative day, patients underwent computed tomography angiography to check for pedicle compression or fluid collection in the sub-flap plane. Monitoring time, as well as comparisons between NPWT and conventional methods, were analyzed. Statistical analysis was performed between the two groups. This study included 26 patients. Among patients, the negative pressure wound Therapy treated group included 14 flaps and the conventional monitoring group included 12 flaps. There was no significant intergroup difference in flap survival rate (p = 0.83). In addition, there was no significant intergroup difference in the diameters of perforators or anastomosed vessels before and after negative pressure wound therapy (p = 0.97). Compared with conventional monitoring, flap monitoring with incisional negative pressure wound therapy was associated with a significantly lower mean monitoring time per flap up to postoperative day 5. Although conventional monitoring is widely recommended, especially for diabetic foot ulcer management, the novel incisional negative pressure wound therapy investigated in this study enabled effortless serial flap monitoring without increasing complication risks. The novel flap monitoring technique is efficient and safe for diabetic foot patients and is a promising candidate for future recognition as the gold standard for flap monitoring.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15684
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


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