Reconstruction of an extensive vulvectomy defect using the gluteus maximus fasciocutaneous V-Y advancement flap.
Effective management of a vulvar wound resulting from oncological ablative surgery poses a formidable task for the reconstructive surgeon. During the past two decades, numerous procedures have been described in an effort to provide stable, sensate coverage that minimizes deformity and preserves function, often in the setting of concomitant radiation. At the authors' institution, a fasciocutaneous V-Y advancement flap based on the gluteus maximus has been adopted as a common approach to this problem. They present their institutional experience with this procedure. A 10-year chart review (1991-2001) yielded a series of 20 vulvectomy patients, all of whom were reconstructed by the same surgeon using ischial fasciocutaneous V-Y flaps based on perforators from the inferior border of the gluteus maximus muscle. Patients underwent vulvectomy for recurrent or advance-stage vulvar cancer, or extensive carcinoma in situ. Squamous cell carcinoma was the most common pathology (N = 13). Fifteen patients had bilateral V-Y flaps; the remainder had unilateral procedures. Six patients underwent prior radiation therapy. Two patients had delayed reconstruction for vaginal stenosis. Flap survival was 100%. There were no major complications, early or late. Minor complications were limited to localized areas of delayed healing, all of which responded to conservative measures. Functional outcome was excellent in all patients. At an average follow-up of 44 months, there were five episodes of recurrent disease necessitating surgical intervention. Based on this series, the gluteus maximus V-Y advancement flap provides a straightforward and reliable method to recruit local tissue for stable coverage of these often difficult-to-manage wounds.