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South African Medical Journal

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Degloving injuries and flap viability assessment

Alan D. Widgerow, Laurence A. Chait

Abstract


Degloving injuries are associated with major morbidity. The management of these injuries is still not resolved. The method of management used by the authors involves the harvesting of split skin from the surface of the flap and assessment of flap viability based on surface dennal capillary bleeding. The skin grafts are then used to cover denuded areas. This technique has proved to be effective, time-saving and morbidity-reducing in the cases reviewed here and in recent publications.

The issue addressed in this trial was the effect of partial de-epithelialisation on the survival length of a flap. Two groups of dorsal rat flaps were compared. In one group, the flaps were raised and restitched after a period of time and in the second group, the surfaces of identical flaps were partially de-epithelialised and then restitched. The survival length of these flaps was compared, as well as the metabolic responses to surgery in the two groups. No statistically significant differences were found in these 2 groups. It was concluded that partial de-epithelialisation did not have a detrimental effect on duration of flap length survival, thus encouraging the continued use of the clinical technique described above in the handling of degloving injuries.




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