Upper and Lower Extremity Reconstruction

Limb salvage refers to surgery that restores and reconstructs upper and lower limb injuries following trauma, infection, or cancer. Frequently, these can be acute or chronic injuries that limit walking, cause chronic pain, or affect quality of life. 

The goal of limb salvage is to preserve the best possible function and appearance of the affected limb in an effort to avoid partial or complete amputation. 

The Plastic and Reconstructive Clinic at the University of Colorado Hospital is a multidisciplinary program that integrates plastic surgery, orthopedic surgery, and vascular surgery to achieve the best functional outcomes. We offer particular expertise in treating the following problems:

  • unstable scar and chronic wounds
  • scar contracture (occurs when scar tissue from a large wound pulls the skin tightly, restricting the natural movement of muscles and tendons)
  • tendon exposure
  • bone or fracture non-union (failure of a broken bone to heal on its own)
  • osteomyelitis (bone infection)
  • targeted muscle reinnervation (treatment for chronic extremity or phantom pain following injury or amputation)

Our treatments and surgeries are protocol driven, which increases the reliability of clinical decision making and allows necessary tests to be ordered in a timely manner. We offer the most advanced techniques to provide stable wound closure and optimal healing:

  • comprehensive wound care center
  • nerve surgery (improves function and decreases pain through nerve transfers, nerve decompression, or neuroma excision)
  • biologic matrices (functions as artificial skin, which helps improve the health of the wound or allow for coverage)
  • skin grafts (a thin layer of skin is used to cover superficial wounds)
  • flaps:
    • local flaps (utilizes local tissue with their blood supply--including skin, muscle, or bone--to close and reconstruct a wound)
    • free flaps (utilizes the operating room microscope to move a piece of tissue with its blood supply and nerves--typically tissue from the thigh called the 'anterolateral thigh flap'--and reconnect the vessels nearer the wound to bring healthy tissue for wound closure and coverage)


CU Anschutz

Academic Office One

12631 East 17th Avenue

Room: 6111

Aurora, CO 80045


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