Lotus petal flap and vertical rectus abdominis myocutaneous flap in vulvoperineal reconstruction: a systematic review of differences in complications

Joke Hellinga, Mathijs Rots, Paul M. N. Werker, Martin W. Stenekes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
79 Downloads (Pure)


Background Vulvoperineal defects resulting from surgical treatment of (pre)malignancies may result in reconstructive challenges. The vertical rectus abdominis muscle flap and, more recently, the fasciocutaneous lotus petal flap are often used for reconstruction in this area. The goal of this review is to compare the postoperative complications of application of these flaps.Methods:A comprehensive literature search of the PubMed, MEDLINE and Cochrane Library databases was performed until 6 June 2020. Search terms included the lotus petal flap, vertical rectus abdominis muscle flap and the vulvoperineal area. Articles were independently screened by two researchers according to the PRISMA-guidelines.Results:A total of 1074 citations were retrieved and reviewed, of which 55 were included for full text analysis. Following lotus petal flap reconstructions, the complication rate varied from 0.0% to 69.9%, with more complications concerning the recipient site compared with the donor site complications (26.0% versus 4.5%). Following vertical rectus abdominis muscle flap reconstructions the complication rate varied between 0.0% and 85.7% with almost twice the number of recipient site complications compared to donor site complications (37.1% versus 17.8%).Conclusions:Overall, the lotus petal flap has lower complication rates at both the donor and the recipient site compared with the vertical rectus abdominis muscle flap. When both options seem viable, the lotus petal flap procedure may be preferred on the basis of the reported lower complication rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-82
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of plastic surgery and hand surgery
Issue number2
Early online date15-Oct-2020
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Lotus petal flap
  • vertical rectus abdominis muscle flap
  • systematic review
  • complications
  • vulvoperineal
  • VRAM

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