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Smoking aggravates skin necrosis as a complication of random-pattern flap ischaemia. Sildenafil and nitroglycerin (NTG) are vasodilator agents that may affect skin flap survival. Fifty rats were subjected to a dorsal random-pattern flap operation and randomly divided into 5 groups. The control group received no treatment. The ischaemic group were administered local nicotine injections. The sildenafil group were administered oral sildenafil treatment in addition to the same intervention as the ischaemic group. The NTG group received topical NTG ointment application instead of sildenafil. The combined group were given both sildenafil and NTG treatments. After 7 days, all rats were sacrificed for flap assessment. Flap survival percentages at the 3rd and 7th days were significantly higher in the combined group than in the other study groups. Histologically, the ischaemic group exhibited dermal disorganization and inflammatory cell infiltration, which were improved in the 3 treated groups; however, the combined group presented the most relevant effect. The epidermal thickness showed a decrease in the ischaemic group (23.1 μm) that was significantly increased in the sildenafil (28.4 μm), NTG (28.8 μm) and combined (35.8 μm) groups. Immunohistochemically, the combined group exhibited a significant decrease in the apoptotic index and an increase in the proliferative index (2.3 and 56.9%, respectively) compared to those in the ischaemic (63.2 and 3%), sildenafil (41.7 and 28.1%) and NTG (39.3 and 30.4%) groups. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) showed that the combined group displayed improvement in most of the ischaemic changes. Our analyses suggest that the combined use of sildenafil and NTG is more efficacious than using only one of these treatments for skin flap survival.


Mohamed A Ellabban, Islam Omar Abdel Fattah, Ghada Abdel Kader, Omar Salah Eldeen, Amir E Mehana, Dina M Khodeer, Hossam Hosny, Mahmoud S Elbasiouny, Suhail Masadeh. The Effects of Sildenafil and/or Nitroglycerin on Random-pattern Skin Flaps After Nicotine Application in Rats. Scientific reports. 2020 Feb 21;10(1):3212

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PMID: 32081888

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