Several investigations have suggested that a sterile inflammatory reaction in a skin flap enhances flap survival. A chemical peel produces a mild chemical burn, which is one form of nonbacterial inflammatory response. Some authors advocate the concomitant use of face lift and chemical peel, while others caution that the peel might jeopardize the facial flaps. To determine whether the reaction caused by a chemical peel enhances or impairs skin flap survival, a study using miniature pigs was undertaken. Survival length of flaps treated with a chemical peel was compared to that of untreated flaps. A total of 36 dorsally based random flaps were used on three miniature pigs. Six identical 14 × 4 cm flaps were designed on each side of the pigs. A chemical peel was applied to the area of 18 of the proposed flaps 2 days prior to elevation. Alternate flaps on each side of the pigs were treated. As the flaps were elevated, the tips were examined to document the inflammatory response histologically. After 14 days, the surviving length of the flaps was measured. As determined by the Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed-ranks test, there was no significant difference between the treated and untreated groups. Our study shows that a nonbacterial inflammatory response produced by a chemical peel does not improve skin flap survival, at least not in pigs.
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