A quantitative comparison of the effects on tissues is performed between chronic tissue expansion, intraoperative expansion, and load cycling in a guinea pig model. Intraoperative expansion, which was developed by Sasaki as a method of immediate tissue expansion for small- to medium-sized defects, and load cycling, which was described by Gibson as a method using intraoperative pull, are compared with chronic tissue expansion on the basis of the following four parameters: amount of skin produced, flap viability, intraoperative tissue pressures, and histological changes. The chronically expanded group, which included booster and nonbooster expansions, produced a 137% increase in surface area, or a 52% increase in flap arc length, whereas intraoperative expansion resulted in a 31% increase in surface area, or a 15% increase in flap arc length. The load-cycled group, however, resulted in an almost negligible amount of skin increase. All three techniques exhibit immediate postexpansion stretchback. Flap viability is not impaired by any of the three techniques, in spite of the elevated pressures observed during expansion. Therefore, intraoperative expansion is effective primarily for limited expansion of small defects, whereas chronic tissue expansion still provides the greatest amount of skin increase when compared with other techniques.
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