Surgical repair and closure of myelomeningocele (MMC) defects are important and vital, as the mortality rate is as high as 65%–70% in untreated patients. Closure of large MMC defects is challenging for pediatric neurosurgeons and plastic surgeons. The aim of the current study is to report the operative characteristics and outcome of a series of Iranian patients with large MMC defects utilizing the V-Y flap and with latissimus dorsi or gluteal muscle advancement.
This comparative study was conducted during a 4-year period from September 2013 to October 2017 in the pediatric neurosurgery department of Shiraz Namazi Hospital, Southern Iran. The authors included 24 patients with large MMC defects who underwent surgery utilizing the bilateral V-Y flap and latissimus dorsi and gluteal muscle advancement. They also retrospectively included 19 patients with similar age, sex, and defect size who underwent surgery using the primary or delayed closure techniques at their center. At least 2 years of follow-up was conducted. The frequency of leakage, necrosis, dehiscence, systemic infection (sepsis, pneumonia), need for ventriculoperitoneal shunt insertion, and mortality was compared between the 2 groups.
The bilateral V-Y flap with muscle advancement was associated with a significantly longer operative duration (p < 0.001) than the primary closure group. Those undergoing bilateral V-Y flaps with muscle advancement had significantly lower rates of surgical site infection (p = 0.038), wound dehiscence (p = 0.013), and postoperative CSF leakage (p = 0.030) than those undergoing primary repair. The bilateral V-Y flap with muscle advancement was also associated with a lower mortality rate (p = 0.038; OR 5.09 [95% CI 1.12–23.1]) than primary closure. In patients undergoing bilateral V-Y flap and muscle advancement, a longer operative duration was significantly associated with mortality (p = 0.008). In addition, surgical site infection (p = 0.032), wound dehiscence (p = 0.011), and postoperative leakage (p = 0.011) were predictors of mortality. Neonatal sepsis (p = 0.002) and postoperative NEC (p = 0.011) were among other predictors of mortality in this group.
The bilateral V-Y flap with latissimus dorsi or gluteal advancement is a safe and effective surgical approach for covering large MMC defects and is associated with lower rates of surgical site infection, dehiscence, CSF leakage, and mortality. Further studies are required to elucidate the long-term outcomes.
ABBREVIATIONSMMC = myelomeningocele; NEC = necrotizing enterocolitis; SSI = surgical site infection; VP = ventriculoperitoneal.
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