A new method for the reconstruction of large thoracolumbar and lumbosacral meningomyelocele defects is described in which latissimus dorsi and gluteus maximus myocutaneous units are advanced medially and reapproximated in the midline, permitting primary closure of the defect in three layers. The flaps are based on the thoracodorsal and superior gluteal vessels and the intervening thoracolumbar fascia, providing tension-free, durable, and viable soft-tissue coverage over the dural repair. No lateral relaxing incisions, delays, or skin grafts are necessary. This technique has been used successfully in the repair of nine large meningomyelocele defects, and uncomplicated wound closure was achieved in all cases. The anatomic basis, technique, advantages, and functional implications of our approach are described. The flaps described do not alter the nerve supply of the muscles and merely redefine the muscle origins; therefore, no functional deficit from the reconstructive surgery is anticipated.
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