To demonstrate the feasibility of using microporous catheters to deliver a growth factor in a skin flap model, and to determine whether removal of excess fluid by ultrafiltration catheters reduces edema.
In a controlled study at a research laboratory associated with major teaching hospital, vascular endothelial growth factor was delivered to porcine skin flaps by direct infusion using hollow fiber catheters. Treated flaps received either infusion alone or infusion and ultrafiltration via hollow fibers inserted into the distal portion of the flap. Controls had neither type of catheter placed. The main outcome measure was flap survival and edema.
Treated anterior flaps were found to have increased survival (mean [SD] increase, 49.9% [9.4%]) compared with control flaps (44.1% [4.5%]) for group (P = .005) and side (P = .01) but not by interaction (P = .14). Water content was significant by analysis of variance for group, position, and interaction (all P < .001, df = 31) for treated (55.3% [9.7%]) and control (61.9% [8.2%]) groups.
This study demonstrated feasibility of using hollow fiber technology to deliver a growth factor to skin flaps. Further study may yield clinical applications for human patients undergoing reconstructive procedures.