Sharp scalpel dissection, electrosurgery, and argon-enhanced electrosurgery (argon beam coagulation) were used to elevate random pedicled skin flaps in a randomized, blinded fashion with a porcine model. A total of 72 flaps on 9 pigs were examined. Flap survival was quantified, and histology was also reviewed 2 and 6 weeks after surgery. No significant difference among the three techniques was noted in terms of area or length of surviving flaps. There were also no histologic differences noted with regard to fibrosis, inflammatory infiltrate, or necrosis. We conclude that the use of electrosurgery during surgical dissection of random pedicled skin flaps is not detrimental to wound healing or tissue survival, and it provides benefits such as decreased blood loss, absence of the need for sharp instruments in the surgical field, and faster operative times.
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