The effects of tissue expansion on skin lymph flow and lymphatics: An experimental study in rabbits

Ercocen A., Yilmaz S., Can Z., Berk F., Kir M., Yenidunya S., ...More

SCANDINAVIAN JOURNAL OF PLASTIC AND RECONSTRUCTIVE SURGERY AND HAND SURGERY, vol.32, no.4, pp.353-358, 1998 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier


Histomorphological, physiological, and biomechanical changes of the skin and tissue that are being expanded have been extensively studied in the past. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the skin lymph flow and lymphatics may be influenced during tissue expansion, and also to study different pattern of vascular supply of skin on lymph flow during tissue expansion. The skin lymph flow was quantitatively assessed by Tc-99m-dextran lymphoscintigraphy, and the structure of dermal lymphatics was evaluated by histological examination in 12 rabbits. Lymphoscintigraphic results showed that lymph flow is significantly reduced both in expanded and non-expanded (sham-operated) skin. Histologically, we saw widespread lymphatic distension in both expanded and non-expanded skin. There were no quantitative differences in the number of lymphatic vessels compared with control skin. We did not see any lymphatic capillaries in the subdermal capsule of either expanded or non-expanded skin. These results show that lymphostasis has an obstructive (mechanical) aetiology, and the tissue expander itself reduces the lymph flow regardless of expansion, and interferes with the formation of new lymphatic vessels.