Background: The application of a new approach is presented, percutaneous aponeurotomy and lipofilling, which is a minimally invasive, incisionless alternative to traditional flap reconstructions.
Methods: The restrictive subdermal cicatrix and/or endogenous aponeurosis is punctured, producing staggered nicks. Expansion of the restriction reconstructs the defect and creates a vascularized scaffold with micro-openings that are seeded with lipografts. Wide subcutaneous cuts that lead to macrocavities and subsequent graft failure are avoided. Postoperatively, a splint to hold open the neomatrix/graft construct in its expansive state is applied until the grafts mature. Thirty-one patients underwent one to three operations (average, two) for defects that normally require flap tissue transfer: wounds where primary closure was not possible (n = 9), contour defects of the trunk and breast requiring large-volume fat grafts (n = 8), burn contractures (n = 5), radiation scars (n = 6), and congenital constriction bands (n = 3).
Results: The regenerated tissue was similar in texture and consistency to the surrounding tissues. Wider meshed areas had greater tissue gain (range, 20 to 30 percent). There were no significant wound-healing issues, scars, or donor-site morbidities. Advancement tension was relieved without flap undermining or decreased perfusion.
Conclusions: Realizing that, whether scar or endogenous fascia, the subdermal aponeurosis limits tissue stretch and/or its three-dimensional expansion, a minimally invasive procedure that expands this cicatrix into a matrix ideally suited for fat micrografts was developed. Grafting this scaffold applies tissue-engineering principles to generate the needed tissue and represents a regenerative alternative to reconstructive flap surgery.
CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic, V.