Artificial dermis as an alternative for coverage of complex scalp defects following excision of malignant tumors

Ewa Komorowska-Timek, Allen Gabriel, Della C Bennett, Duncan Miles, Carlos Garberoglio, Chester Cheng, Subhas Gupta
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 2005, 115 (4): 1010-7

BACKGROUND: Artificial dermis has been used successfully for coverage of full-thickness wounds with a well-vascularized surgical bed. However, the use of artificial dermis in the reconstruction of partial- and full-thickness scalp defects has not been well documented.

METHODS: Seven patients (six men and one woman; mean age, 70 +/- 14 years) with partial-thickness (three patients) and full-thickness (four patients) soft-tissue defects of the scalp (mean defect area, 97 +/- 58 cm) following resection of recurrent malignant tumors and/or previous failed reconstructions underwent staged scalp reconstruction with a bilaminate skin substitute (Integra). After adequate debridement of scalp wounds, including burring the outer table of the calvaria down to bleeding bone for full-thickness defects, Integra was scored and applied unexpanded. A split-thickness skin graft (0.011 +/- 0.0 inch in thickness) was placed on the operative site at postoperative day 36 +/- 15 after removal of the silicone layer of the artificial dermis. Two patients required repeated applications of artificial dermis to compensate for contour deficits before skin grafting.

RESULTS: Clinically, all reconstructed areas showed well-vascularized neodermis before skin grafting. There was a 100 percent take of the skin grafts, with no infections or other complications noted. All reconstructive procedures were performed in less than 3 hours of combined operative time, with the last stage performed on an outpatient basis.

CONCLUSIONS: Artificial dermis can be used successfully for reconstruction of complex scalp defects following oncologic resection, offering minimal donor-site morbidity, expedient operative time, and when needed, temporary quality closure until final pathologic results are known. Integra skin may offer another option for definitive management of extensive full-thickness scalp defects.

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