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Using Tissue Expanders in Spinal Surgery for Deficient Soft Tissue or Postirradiation Cases

PAONESSA, KENNETH J., MD*; ZIDE, BARRY, DMD, MD; ERRICO, THOMAS, MD; ENGLER, GORDON L., MD‡;

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Prior irradiation and scarring can complicate wound closure following spinal surgery. Implanted tissue expanders were used six times in four patients to aid skin closure. Three patients had prior irradiation for cancer, and one had myelomeningocele. The average interval between placement and removal of the expanders was 46 days. Two late failures occurred because of prominent hardware. These expanders may provide adequate myocutaneous covers following spinal surgery in difficult cases.

*Norwich Orthopedic Group, Norwich, Connecticut, and the Departments of †Plastic Surgery and ‡Orthopaedic Surgery, New York University Medical Center, New York, New York.

© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.