Scalp defects of various etiologies require distinct reconstruction strategies. Therefore, the authors divided scalp defects into the following categories: scar alopecia, open scalp wound, benign or low-grade malignant tumor, and high-grade malignancy. The authors reviewed the experience with scalp reconstruction of a single center to determine the factors that affect the reconstructive choices.
Patients who underwent scalp reconstruction between 2008 and 2020 were retrospectively reviewed. Reconstruction methods were classified according to the etiology of the defect and were compared for each etiology. Accordingly, a reconstruction algorithm for scalp defects was proposed.
A total of 180 patients were included in this study, and the reconstruction methods demonstrated significant differences according to etiology (P < 0.05). For scar alopecia and open scalp wounds, reconstruction methods such as direct repair, local flap transfer, and tissue expander placement were used depending on the defect size. Patients with benign or low-grade malignancies mainly underwent reconstruction with local flaps or skin grafts and tissue expanders for covering the defects. Patients with high-grade malignancies underwent reconstruction with free flaps if they were scheduled for preoperative or postoperative radiation therapy.
Various factors, suchas the etiology, size, location, and depthofthe defect, should be considered in scalp reconstruction. The defect etiology is an important factor that determines the reconstructive goal. Our algorithm is based on the etiology of defects and is intended to aid physicians in choosing the appropriate treatment for various scalp defects.