Pressure injuries (PI) are infrequent in paediatric patients, prevalence estimates ranging from 1.4% to 8.2%, and reaching values as high as 43.1% in critical care areas. They can be associated with congenital neurological or metabolic disorders that cause reduced mobility or require the need for medical devices. In children, most pressure injuries heal spontaneously. However, a small percentage of ulcers that is refractory to conservative management or is too severe at presentation (Stage 3 or 4) will be candidates for surgery. We retrospectively reviewed the clinical history of paediatric patients affected by pressure injuries from four European Plastic Surgery Centres. Information was collected from clinical and radiology records, and laboratory reports. An accurate search of the literature revealed only two articles reporting on the surgical treatment of pressure injuries in children. After debridement, we performed surgical coverage of the pressure injuries. We report here our experience with 18 children aged 1-17 years, affected by pressure injury Stages 3 and 4. They were successfully treated with pedicled (17 patients) or free flaps (1 patient). The injuries involved the sacrum (6/18 patients), lower limb (3/18 patients), thoracic spine (2/18 patients), ischium (3/18 patients, bilateral in one patient), temporal area (3/18 patients), hypogastrium (1/18 patients) and were associated to medical devices in three cases. Flaps were followed for a minimum of 19 months and up to 13 years. Only two patients developed true recurrences that were treated again surgically. Pressure injuries are infrequent in children and rarely need surgical treatment. Pedicled flaps have a high success rate. Recurrences, contrary to what is reported in the literature, were rare.
© 2021 The Authors. Wound Repair and Regeneration published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of The Wound Healing Society.