Reconstruction of a Circumferential Upper Extremity Soft Tissue Defect With a Dermal Regeneration Template and Skin Grafting

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Extensive degloving injuries of the upper extremity are rare and pose unique reconstructive challenges. Circumferential loss of soft tissue coverage over the elbow treated by skin grafting is often complicated by elbow contracture and decreased range of motion, requiring secondary contracture release and free-flap reconstruction to restore function. As an alternative approach, we report a good outcome after the use of a dermal regenerative template and subsequent split-thickness skin grafting. A 38-year-old right hand dominant man presented with circumferential degloving injury of the entire right upper extremity to the level of the chest wall after an industrial accident. An immediate right transradial amputation was performed and serial debridement was required to remove all devitalized tissue. A dermal regenerative template with subsequent split-thickness skin grafting was used to cover the circumferential elbow soft tissue defect. Occupational therapy and splinting were used preoperatively and postoperatively to prevent contracture. However, axillary scar contracture release was required 4 months after injury. Six months after skin grafting, the patient had stable soft tissue coverage of the upper extremity. Shoulder motion measured 120-degree abduction and 140-degree forward flexion and elbow range of motion was 15 to 150 degrees. In this case, an excellent clinical outcome was obtained with a dermal regenerative template, aggressive wound care, and a multidisciplinary team approach.

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