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Open Access Research

Correlation of cutaneous tension distribution and tissue oxygenation with acute external tissue expansion

C Marquardt1, E Bölke2*, PA Gerber3, G Kukova3, M Peiper4, E Rusnak5, K Orth6 and W Fleischmann6

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Surgery, Krankenhaus Ludwigsburg, Germany

2 Department of Radiooncology, University of Düsseldorf, Germany

3 Department of Dermatology, University of Düsseldorf, Germany

4 Department of Surgery, University of Düsseldorf, Germany

5 Department of Anesthesiology, State University of New York at Buffalo, USA

6 Department of Orthopaedics, Krankenhaus Bietigheim-Bissingen, Germany

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European Journal of Medical Research 2009, 14:480-486  doi:10.1186/2047-783X-14-11-280

Published: 3 November 2009

Abstract

Today, the biomechanical fundamentals of skin expansion are based on viscoelastic models of the skin. Although many studies have been conducted in vitro, analyses performed in vivo are rare. Here, we present in vivo measurements of the expansion at the skin surface as well as measurement of the corresponding intracutaneous oxygen partial pressure. In our study the average skin stretching was 24%, with a standard deviation of 11%, excluding age or gender dependency. The measurement of intracutaneous oxygen partial pressure produced strong inter-individual fluctuations, including initial values at the beginning of the measurement, as well as varying individual patient reactions to expansion of the skin. Taken together, we propose that even large defect wounds can be closed successfully using the mass displacement caused by expansion especially in areas where soft, voluminous tissue layers are present.