Versatility of Tissue Expansion in Abdominal Wall Reconstruction After Removal of Vascular Malformations in Children


Background: Children who have had extensive abdominal wall vascular anomalies (VAs) face 3 common reconstructive options: either tolerating the complications of these lesions, exposure to repeated laser therapy session with its sequelae, or excision followed by a color-matched skin graft. The use of serial tissue expansion and excision of the affected skin offers a potentially better option under the right circumstances. Tissue expanders (TEs) have broad applicability but are not without complications.

Objective: To study the versatility of use of TEs in the management of children who had extensive VAs in their abdominal wall with special emphasis to the complications and children and parental satisfaction.

Materials and Methods: Retrospective data collection of 12 patients’ charts, operative data of 84 operative procedures, and follow-up visits. Statistical analysis done using Student t test significance and P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

Results: Using 35 different sizes of TEs and 84 operative procedures in 9 boys and 3 girls aged from 2 to 12 years with different types of abdominal wall VAs revealed an overall complications rate of 20%. Child and parental satisfaction was found to be good overall.

Conclusions: Tissue expander is a useful and feasible tool for reconstruction of the abdominal wall with extensive VAs in children; parents and children were satisfied and body image is acceptable.

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