Objective: Cytokines may be a mechanism by which surgical delay can increase flap survival. We previously found that preoperative vascular endothelium growth factor (VEGF) administration in the rat transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous (TRAM) flap could improve skin paddle survival. In this study, we used partial elevation of the rat TRAM flap as a surgical delay to assess endogenous cytokine expression and tissue survival comparable to undelayed TRAM flaps. Methods: In Part I, TRAM flaps underwent surgical delay procedures; 7 days later, the flaps were completely elevated and reinset. At the same time, other flaps were raised and reinset without delay. Skin paddle survival in both groups was evaluated at 7 days. In Part II, skin biopsies from TRAM zones I to IV were taken at the time of delay and at intervals of 12, 24, 48, and 72 hours. Specimens were assessed for selected cytokine gene expression by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analysis (TR-PCR). Results: Surgical delay significantly (P < 0.001) increased skin paddle survival in the delayed TRAM flaps (16.14 ± 1.53 cm, 81.9%) compared with undelayed flaps (7.68 ± 3.16 cm, 40.9%). TGF-β and PDGF expressions were not changed by surgical delay, but basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) and VEGF expressions increased significantly (P < 0.05 and P < 0.01) after delay. Conclusions: In the rat TRAM model, surgical delay resulted in increased VEGF expression and increased skin paddle survival. These results correlate with previous studies showing the preoperative injection of VEGF increases skin paddle survival. VEGF may be an important element in the delay phenomenon and may be an agent for pharmacological delay.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Annals of surgery|
|State||Published - Jun 2004|
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