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1.  The treatment of soft-tissue defects of the lower leg after a traumatic open tibial fracture 
The treatment of large soft-tissue defects of the lower leg remains a challenge. The timing of the operation, the most suitable type of tissue, and the decision between local or free flap coverage still remains under discussion. Fifty-two patients were treated with local or free flap coverage after a traumatic soft-tissue defect of the lower leg. We compared the results after treatment with local versus free flaps and fasciocutaneous flaps versus musculocutaneous flaps. In the case of primary reconstruction, we also compared the results regarding the timing of the operation: patients treated within 72 h after the trauma versus patients treated after 72 h. Thirty-five patients (67%) have been treated because of posttraumatic soft-tissue defects and, therefore, insufficient fracture coverage. Seventeen patients (33%) were treated because of a chronic osteomyelitis that arose after the trauma. In our study, we did not find a statistically significant difference between the postoperative complications of local and free flaps. A significant increase could be demonstrated in the number of revisions after treatment with a free flap. Treatment with a fasciocutaneous flap in the entire study group was associated with significantly more postoperative complications than treatment with a musculocutaneous flap. There was no significant difference in results after early or late flap coverage. Patients treated with local or free flaps achieved equal outcomes, except for the number of postoperative revisions in which local flaps required lesser revisions. Treatment with a musculocutaneous flap is preferable to treatment with a fasciocutaneous flap regarding postoperative complications. The timing of operation proved not to be a discriminating factor.
PMCID: PMC2869440  PMID: 20502513
Soft-tissue defects; Lower leg; Open tibial fracture; Fasciocutaneous flap; Musculocutaneous flap
2.  Surgeons Underestimate Their Patients’ Desire for Preoperative Information 
World Journal of Surgery  2008;32(6):964-970.
Provision of adequate patient information may contribute to a “satisfying” surgical treatment. The patient’s views on successful transfer of information concerning operative characteristics may not be in concert with the surgeon’s. The aim of the present study was to determine opinions of both surgeons and patients about issues of surgical information.
A group of surgeons (n = 24) and surgical patients (n = 125) responded to a questionnaire that included 80 topics involving domains of information on disease, physical examination, preoperative period, anesthesia, operation, postoperative period, self care, and general hospital issues. Both groups were asked for their opinion on what they considered important and useful preoperative information for patients. Questions were scored with a visual analog scale. The reliability of the questionnaire was calculated with Cronbach’s alpha. Differences in opinions between surgeons and patients were analyzed with Student’s t-test.
The Cronbach’s alpha of the questionnaire was high (0.91), indicating its high reliability. Patients scored significantly higher (p < 0.001) in most domains, including preoperative period, anaesthesia, operation, postoperative period, self care, and general hospital information. Women demonstrated a significantly higher need for information than men did. These findings were independent of patient age or complexity of operation. In contrast, surgeons thought that their patients desired more extensive information on cause, effect, and prognosis of the disease itself (p < 0.001).
Surgeons generally underestimate their patients’ desire for receiving extensive information prior to a surgical procedure of any complexity. Surgeons should develop strategies to bridge this informational mismatch.
PMCID: PMC2386849  PMID: 18408963
3.  The influence of a PHI-5-loaded silicone membrane, on cutaneous wound healing in vivo 
This study investigated whether a novel ionogenic substance, containing amongst others zinc and rubidium (PHI-5; Dermagenics Inc, Memphis, TN, USA), could improve the healing of full-thickness skin wounds. Uniform wounds were created on the right flank of guinea pigs. Micro-grooved silicone rubber membranes, containing 0 (controls), 1.25, 5.00, or 10.00 μg PHI-5, were sutured onto this wound. Standardized digital wound photographs were made after 1, 3, and 6 weeks. Also, wound biopsies were taken after 3 and 6 weeks for histological and histomorphometrical evaluation. For all study groups, 6 animals were used. Analysis of the 1-week digital photographs showed that the surface area of the wounds decreased significantly, with an increasing PHI-5 concentration. No other differences were found in the wound photographs. Also, no differences were measured in histomorphometry at 3 and 6 weeks. Concluding, in our study model a single application of PHI-5 did have a significant positive influence on initial wound healing.
PMCID: PMC1915588  PMID: 17387598

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