Improved outcome of surgical flaps treated with topical dimethylsulfoxide

Leslie Rand-Luby, Rodney F. Pommier, Shauna T. Williams, Eugene A. Woltering, Karen A. Small, William S. Fletcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Objective: The objective of this study was to analyze the effect of dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) on skin flap viability. Background: Dimethylsulfoxide has been shown to decrease necrosis of random skin flaps in the rat model, but no human studies have been performed. The authors performed a randomized, prospective study on the effect of DMSO on skin flap viability in patients undergoing mastectomy and inguinal lymphadenectomy. Methods: Twenty-four patients had topical 60% DMSO applied to their flaps every 4 hours x 10 days after operation and 27 patients had operation alone. The maximum area of flap ischemia was traced by a masked observer and measured by cut and weigh technique. Significance of differences between the treatment and control group was determined by Student's test. Results: The mean area of ischemia for the DMSO group was 16.33 U versus 44.93 U for the control group. This difference was statistically significant (p = 0.01). Conclusions: The authors conclude that topical application of DMSO reduces skin flap ischemia in humans and recommend its use after operation in which skin flaps are created.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)583-590
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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