The Influence of Topical Vasodilator-Induced Pharmacologic Delay on Cutaneous Flap Viability and Vascular Remodeling.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

BACKGROUND: Surgical delay is a well-described technique to improve survival of random and pedicled cutaneous flaps. The aim of this study was to test the topical agents minoxidil and iloprost as agents of pharmacologic delay to induce vascular remodeling and decrease overall flap necrosis as an alternative to surgical delay. METHODS: Seven groups were studied (n = 8 in each group), including the following: vehicle, iloprost, or minoxidil before treatment only; vehicle, iloprost, or minoxidil before and after treatment; and a standard surgical delay group as a positive control. Surgical flaps (caudally based modified McFarlane myocutaneous skin flaps) were elevated after 14 days of pretreatment, reinset isotopically, and observed at various time points until postoperative day 7. Gross viability, histology, Doppler blood flow, perfusion imaging, tissue oxygenation measurement, and vascular casting were performed for analysis. RESULTS: Pharmacologic delay with preoperative application of topical minoxidil or iloprost was found to have comparable flap viability when compared to surgical delay. Significantly increased viability in all treatment groups was observed when compared with vehicle. Continued postoperative treatment with topical agents had no effect on flap viability. The mechanism of improved flap viability was inducible increases in flap blood volume and perfusion rather than the acute vasodilatory effects of the topical agents or decreased flap hypoxia. CONCLUSIONS: Preoperative topical application of the vasodilators minoxidil or iloprost improved flap viability comparably to surgical delay. Noninvasive pharmacologic delay may reduce postoperative complications without the need for an additional operation. CLINICAL RELEVANCE STATEMENT: Preoperative use of topical vasodilators may lead to improved flap viability without the need for a surgical delay procedure. This study may inform future clinical trials examining utility of preoperative topical vasodilators in flap surgery.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Wu, ZJ; Ibrahim, MM; Sergesketter, AR; Schweller, RM; Phillips, BT; Klitzman, B

Published Date

  • March 1, 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 149 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 629 - 637

PubMed ID

  • 35041631

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC9102222

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1529-4242

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1097/PRS.0000000000008829


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States