The Effect of Tissue Expansion on Previously Irradiated Skin

William J. Kane, Thomas V. Mccaffrey, Thomas D. Wang, Thomas M. Koval

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Opinion remains divided over the advisability of tissue expansion in previously irradiated skin. We examined the properties of, and complications associated with, tissue expansion in previously irradiated rabbit scalps. Irradiation injury was produced using fractionated roentgen rays, with a total dose of 5000 cGy over a 5-week interval. Following a 20-week convalescence interval, expansion was incrementally conducted over 4 weeks. Monitored parameters included cutaneous perfusion as indicated by fiberoptic dermofluorometry, intraluminal pressure, linear surface gain, and area of surface necrosis. The incidence and severity of complications, including surface necrosis, were significantly higher among irradiated animals. Furthermore, the overlying skin of irradiated animals demonstrated a significantly decreased compliance and measurable area gain. Given the inferior expandability and higher tendency toward complications with contemporary expansion techniques in previously irradiated skin, alternate reconstructive options are preferable in this setting. (Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1992;118:419-426).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)419-426
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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