Objective: To evaluate free skin graft as a closure method immediately following extensive oncological resections in the distal limb of dogs.
Method: Evaluation of medical records of dogs that received a full-thickness, meshed, free skin graft in the distal limb immediately after tumour removal.
Results: Oncological resection was performed on the antebrachium of six dogs and the -tarso--metatarsal area of one dog. Tumour types were mast cell tumour (n=4), soft tissue sarcoma (n=2) and -histiocytic sarcoma (n=1). The recipient bed consisted predominately of muscles and tendons. Three grafts survived completely. There was partial, superficial epidermal necrosis in some areas of four grafts. None of the dogs had full thickness necrosis or required further reconstruction. Good to excellent cosmetic results were achieved. Tumour resection was complete in every case. There was no local tumour recurrence at the time of last follow-up (6-49 months).
Clinical significance: Free grafting can be used reliably to reconstruct extensive surgical wounds in the distal limb in dogs after large tumour resection without the need for a delay to allow granulation tissue to form. Immediate grafting is useful as an alternative to other reconstructive surgical techniques or second intention healing.
© 2012 British Small Animal Veterinary Association.