BACKGROUND: Lotus petal flaps (LPF) may be used for the reconstruction of extralevator abdominoperineal defects that cannot be closed primarily. Limited data are available on how perineal reconstruction with the LPF impacts on patients' quality of life (QoL), sexual functioning, and physical functioning.
METHODS: A cross-sectional study was performed following perineal reconstruction with the LPF. The QoL of patients having undergone LPF reconstruction was compared with a control group in which perineal defects were closed without flaps. Sexual and physical functioning (presence of perineal herniation and range of motion [ROM] of the hip joints) could only be evaluated in the LPF group. Psychometrically sound questionnaires were used. Physical functioning was evaluated subjectively with binary questions and objectively by physical examination.
RESULTS: Of the 23 patients asked to participate, 15 (65%) completed the questionnaires and 11 (47%) underwent physical examination. In the control group, 16 patients were included. There were no significant differences in QoL between the LPF and control groups. Within the LPF group, 33% of patients were sexually active postoperatively compared with 87% preoperatively. No perineal herniation was found. The ROM of the hip joints was bilaterally smaller compared with the generally accepted values.
CONCLUSIONS: Conclusions should be made with care given the small sample size. Despite a supposedly larger resection area in the LPF group, QoL was comparable in both groups. Nonetheless, reconstruction seemed to affect sexual function and physical function, not hampering overall satisfaction.