Reconstruction of the radial forearm free flap donor site using integra artificial dermis

Ryan C. Murray, Eli A. Gordin, Kapil Saigal, Douglas Leventhal, Howard Krein, Ryan N. Heffelfinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Autologous skin grafting to the donor site in patients who undergo radial forearm free flap reconstruction (RFFF) is associated with cosmetic and functional morbidity. Integra artificial dermis (Integra Lifesciences, Plainsboro, NJ) is a bovine collagen based dermal substitute that can be used as an alternative to primary autologous skin transplantation of the donor site. We describe a staged reconstruction using Integra followed by ultrathin skin grafting that results in highly aesthetic and functional outcomes for these defects. A retrospective review of 29 patients undergoing extirpative head and neck oncologic resection were examined. Integra graft placement was performed at the time of RFFF harvest followed by autologous split thickness skin grafting at 1 to 5 weeks postoperatively. Healing fully occurred within 4-6 weeks with negligible donor site complications, excellent cosmesis, and minimal scar contracture. Composite reconstruction with Integra artificial dermis offers advantages over traditional methods of coverage for select cases of radial forearm free flap donor site closures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-108
Number of pages5
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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