Comparison of full thickness skin graft "take" after excision with the carbon dioxide laser and scalpel

Brian L. Schmidt, M. A. Pogrel, Joseph A. Regezi, Robert Smith, Marcos Necoechea, Gerard Kearns, Badri Azaz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Specific aim. To evaluate the take of skin grafts on conventionally prepared beds and on beds prepared by a carbon dioxide laser, with and without abrasion of the bed. Significance. Graft take is dependent on hemostasis, immobility, and nutrition of the graft. Scalpel excision of the skin graft can be associated with hemostatic difficulties and laser treatment of the skin graft bed can provide hemostasis. Abrasion of the bed after laser treatment may then be a means of opening small lymphatic and blood vessels to maintain the graft. Laser treatment followed by abrasion of the bed may provide an ideal graft base before suturing of the skin graft. Material and methods. Full-thickness skin grafts were taken with a scalpel at three sites on the dorsal skin of 24 guinea pigs. The three beds were prepared with pressure alone to provide hemostasis, laser vaporization followed by abrasion with gauze to produce pinpoint bleeding, and laser vaporization alone. The original skin from each of the sites was then sutured back in place. At postoperative days 1, 3, 5, 10, 21, and 35 the graft sites were assessed clinically for "take." Laser Doppler measurements were also made to evaluate blood flow. Histologie sections of the three sites were prepared, Immunohistochemical analysis was performed to evaluate cell proliferation and angiogenesis. Results. For the animals sacrificed through day 10 the rate of take for the sites that were not lased was 100%. For the sites that were lased alone and lased and abraded the rate of take was 71 % with no difference between the two techniques. The lased sites demonstrated increased inflammatory response and graft necrosis, Immunohistochemical analysis showed increased cellular proliferation and angiogenesis in the bed. Discussion. Grafts take best on a scalpel-prepared bed. Laser preparation of the bed, with or without abrasion, demonstrates decreased "take." Therefore the carbon dioxide laser is not a recommended means to take a graft or prepare the graft bed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)206-214
Number of pages9
JournalOral surgery, oral medicine, oral pathology, oral radiology, and endodontics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • General Dentistry


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