Phalloplasty with the radial forearm free flap is associated with a large donor site defect.
To compare two methods of donor site closure for functional and cosmetic long-term results: full-thickness skin grafting vs split-thickness skin grafting with MatriDerm.
Thirty-seven transgender patients had a neophallus created from a radial forearm free flap, and all were operated on by the same senior surgeon. Eight patients had their donor site defect closed by total skin grafting and 29 patients, operated on after 2009, received a split-thickness skin graft with MatriDerm closure. All 37 patients were evaluated by questionnaire and by careful clinical examination. Pressure perception was assessed with the Semmes-Weinstein monofilament test. Sensory recovery, skin quality, and cosmetic result also were compared. The contralateral arm was used as the control.
Pressure perception values showed better sensory return in the MatriDerm group. Split-thickness skin grafting with MatriDerm achieved superior results in skin sensibility, superficial radial nerve recovery, and cosmetic aspect.
Our findings support the hypothesis that MatriDerm can be used to preserve sensory function and decrease morbidity of the donor site.
The use of a dermal substitute decreases the morbidity of the forearm free flap donor site.
STRENGTHS AND LIMITATIONS:
The strength of this study is its retrospective nature conducted of a prospectively maintained database of 37 consecutive radial forearm free flaps with superimposable dimensions and location performed by the same surgeon, thus limiting biases. A limitation is its small sample (particularly for the control group).
Our experience showed that the combination of a split-thickness skin graft with MatriDerm substantially decreases postoperative complications at the donor site defect on the forearm of transgender patients. Watfa W, di Summa PG, Meuli J, et al. MatriDerm Decreases Donor Site Morbidity After Radial Forearm Free Flap Harvest in Transgender Surgery. J Sex Med 2017;14:1277-1284.