Accelerated flap prefabrication with vascular endothelial growth factor

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Abstract

Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a potent promoter of angiogenesis that has been shown to enhance revascularization of ischemic tissues, including skin flaps. This study was designed to investigate the value of a single topical application of recombinant human VEGF to accelerate flap viability in a rat model of a non-ischemic prefabricated flap. Prefabricated flaps were created in 48 Sprague-Dawley rats. An autologous tail artery loop was anastomosed to the femoral artery and vein, and implanted subcutaneously in the lower abdomen. Flaps were divided into two groups of 24 each. At the time of loop implantation, the control group received 0.9 percent NaCl or a 16 percent vol/wet polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) solution; the treatment group received VEGF in 0.9 percent NaCl or VEGF in PVA. The PVA gel was used to facilitate topical application. In each group, 3- x 4-cm flaps nurtured by the tail artery pedicle were elevated and resutured into place after 3, 4, and 5 weeks. The percentage of surviving skin of each flap was determined by planimetry 7 clays after flap elevation. Mean skin survival areas at 3, 4, and 5 weeks were: control group, 0 percent, 8 percent, and 17.5 percent; and VEGF-treated group, 6 percent, 40 percent, and 66.7 percent, respectively. VEGF significantly improved flap survival by 5 weeks (p = 0.02). These results suggest that VEGF can accelerate maturation of prefabricated flaps. This approach could expand the application of flap prefabrication as a resource for reconstructive surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-49
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Reconstructive Microsurgery
Volume16
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2000

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