JOURNAL ARTICLE

Reconstruction of Moderate-Sized Scalp Defects: A 1-2-3 Rule

F Russo
Actas dermo-sifiliográficas 2019, 110 (6): 474-481
30982570

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Excision of cutaneous scalp tumors results in surgical defects that are difficult to repair because of poor distensibility in this area of the body. The main aim of this study was to develop a structured algorithm to help choose the best technique for reconstructing scalp defects.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Retrospective study of patients who required surgical reconstruction following excision of a cutaneous scalp tumor. We excluded patients with defects that could be closed by simple direct suture and defects for which it was initially decided to use a skin graft or healing by secondary intention. The defects were classified into 5 groups according to the minimum distance between edges. The different reconstruction techniques used were evaluated in each group. The outcomes analyzed were complete defect closure, intraoperative and postoperative complications, and final aesthetic result.

RESULTS: We included 119 patients (102 men and 17 women) with a mean age of 71 years (range, 32-93 years). Mean follow-up was 42 months (range, 6-120 months). Sixty-eight patients had a moderate-sized defect with a distance between edges of 1 to 4cm. Reconstructions started with relaxation incisions in 43 defects and resulted in the successful closure of 22 of them. Defects with a distance of 1 to 2cm required a single relaxation incision. Two incisions were required for defects with a distance of 2 to 3cm, while 3 incisions were required for those with a distance of 3 to 4cm. In the 21 cases in which relaxation incisions were insufficient to close the defect, the incisions were extended to mobilize the flap to achieve closure. Relaxation incisions alone were insufficient for closing defects with a distance greater than 4cm.

CONCLUSIONS: The 1-2-3 rule can help in choosing the best reconstruction technique for moderate-sized defects based on the principle that 1, 2, or 3 initial relaxation incisions are needed depending on the minimum distance between edges (1-2cm, 2-3cm, or 3-4cm). In all cases, incision extension to mobilize the corresponding flaps remains an option.

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