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Louise O’Dwyer
The Veterinary Nurse, Vol. 2, Iss. 6, 25 Jul 2011, pp 302 - 308

Surgical skin reconstruction is increasingly being used in small animal practice to achieve maximal skin coverage. This reconstruction can take the form of either skin flaps or free skin grafts depending on the location of the tissue deficit. A variety of skin flaps are available for use, with or without the inclusion of the direct cutaneous arteries (DCAs) to maintain their vascular supply. Where closure of the deficit is not achievable using a local skin flap then a free skin graft may be selected. The ultimate success of the skin graft 'take' will depend greatly on surgical technique as well as post-operative care which is where the role of the veterinary nurse is vitally important in pro-actively achieving a good outcome. Relatively 'new' techniques such as the use of negative pressure wound therapy or vacuum assisted closure (VAC) is also being introduced to the management of both open wounds and skin flaps and grafts and so far the studies suggest that its use can result in a much more favourable outcome for wound closure.

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