Objective: The objective of this study was to analyze the effect of dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) on skin flap viability. Background: Dimethylsulfoxide has been shown to decrease necrosis of random skin flaps in the rat model, but no human studies have been performed. The authors performed a randomized, prospective study on the effect of DMSO on skin flap viability in patients undergoing mastectomy and inguinal lymphadenectomy. Methods: Twenty-four patients had topical 60% DMSO applied to their flaps every 4 hours x 10 days after operation and 27 patients had operation alone. The maximum area of flap ischemia was traced by a masked observer and measured by cut and weigh technique. Significance of differences between the treatment and control group was determined by Student's test. Results: The mean area of ischemia for the DMSO group was 16.33 U versus 44.93 U for the control group. This difference was statistically significant (p = 0.01). Conclusions: The authors conclude that topical application of DMSO reduces skin flap ischemia in humans and recommend its use after operation in which skin flaps are created.
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