Objective: To investigate the clinical effects of expanded flaps in reconstructing scar contracture deformities in the face and neck after extensive burns. Methods: A retrospective observational study was conducted. From May 2016 to September 2022, 17 patients with scar contracture deformities in the face and neck after extensive burns were admitted to Tongren Hospital of Wuhan University & Wuhan Third Hospital, including 13 males and 4 females, aged 23 to 55 years, with 3 patients having degree Ⅱ cervical contracture, 14 patients having degree Ⅲ cervical contracture, and 12 patients having facial scar contracture deformity. In the first stage, 34 rectangular skin and soft tissue expanders (hereinafter referred to as expanders) with rated capacity of 100-600 mL were inserted into the face, chest, shoulder, and abdomen, and then the normal saline was injected for expansion. In the second stage, the scar tissue was removed and the contracture was released to correct the deformity.
Two expanded facial flaps were transplanted in local fashion, 17 expanded flaps were transplanted in pedicled fashion, and 15 expanded flaps were freely transplanted to repair the secondary wounds after release, with artery pressurization was performed in 7 flaps. Indocyanine green fluorescence imaging was used to evaluate the arterial blood perfusion and venous return of the flaps during transplantation. The incision area of 32 flaps except 2 facial flaps was 10 cm×8 cm-36 cm×16 cm. The wounds of 31 flap donor sites were closed by direct suture, and the wound of 1 flap donor site was repaired by autologous split-thickness scalp transplantation. The skin condition of inserted place, expansion time, and total amount of normal saline injection of expanders, complications of skin and soft tissue expansion surgery, and survival of flap after the second stage surgery were observed and recorded.
Conclusions: The expanded flaps of chest, abdomen, and other parts, combined with local advance, pedicled, and free transplantation, can effectively reconstruct scar contracture deformities in the face and neck after extensive burns, restore the function of operative area and improve the appearance simultaneously, with high degree of patient satisfaction, which is worthy of promotion in clinic.