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Blood flow in expanding tissue can be improved by papaverine through a special delivery system in early report. Because the delivery system was complex and inconvenient, another way of using papaverine was tested to observe the blood flow and the survival length of expanded flap in this study. Twenty-four pigs were divided into three groups randomly named A, B, and C. Four soft tissue expanders (150 millilitres) were implanted into each pig in group A and C. Another four modificatory rectangular expanders were implanted into each pig in group B. A laser Doppler blood velocimeter was used to measure the blood flow. During the expanding process, 1 gram (containing 2% hydrochloride papaverine) of hydrochloride papaverine cream was applied topically on the surface of each expanding skin in group A twice daily. Two millilitres of hydrochloride papaverine (containing 30 milligrams of hydrochloride papaverine) solution was injected into each outer shell of the modificatory expander in group B weekly. Group C acted as control group. A 15 × 3 centimetre random flap was evaluated from the expanded skin after expanding and the survival length measured. The value of blood flow increased more significantly in group A than groups B and C. There were statistical differences. The survival length of the expanded flap in group A was the longest among the three groups, and there were statistical differences too. This study shows that the survival length of expanded flap can be increased by application of papaverine cream topically during the expanding process.


Yong Tang, Chuande Zhou, Jie Luan, Jintian Hu. Improvement of length of survival of expanded flap by application of topical papaverine cream. Journal of plastic surgery and hand surgery. 2012 Dec;46(6):389-92

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PMID: 23157499

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