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Richard E. Hayden, MD, of Washington University, St Louis, recently presented the results of an experiment to determine whether irradiated skin can be expanded for reconstructive purposes. This article was presented at the spring meeting of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in Denver. Hayden pointed out that local color and texture matches are advantages of tissue expansion in reconstructive surgery. Radiation, however, causes endarteritis obliterans, which, in turn, decreases oxygen tension in the radiated skin. In nonirradiated skin, neovascularization occurs, and a capsule is formed as the skin is expanded. Hayden's experiment included five pigs that underwent 60 Gy (6000 rad) to one flank. The opposite flank for each animal served as a control. Six weeks after radiation, 7×9-cm pockets were surgically created, and 250-mL expanders were placed in them. The expanders were slowly filled over the ensuing six weeks, and then 7×17-cm random pattern flaps
STIERNBERG CM. Tissue Expansion of Radiated Skin. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1987;113(10):1046. doi:10.1001/archotol.1987.01860100024010