Reconstruction of a recurrent first dorsal web space defect using acellular dermis

John Y.S. Kim*, Donald W. Buck, Oliver Kloeters, Su Rak Eo, Neil F. Jones

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Oncologic defects of the hand can be problematic for the reconstructive surgeon. These defects may require a delay in definitive coverage until clear margins of resection can be obtained, which can result in a prolonged period of painful dressing changes and increased risk of soft-tissue infection. In addition, reconstructive options for oncologic defects are often limited to skin grafting, which can yield functional deficits secondary to contracted healing. Currently, there is no definitive method for preventing skin graft contracture; however, acellular dermis has been proposed as a biomechanical scaffold to enhance subsequent skin graft healing and slow this functionally debilitating process. Here, we present a patient with recurrent melanoma of the first dorsal web space. After re-resection of the melanoma, the 11 cm × 5 cm defect was reconstructed using acellular dermis as temporary coverage to allow ample time for permanent section results. Ten days later, after confirming negative margins of resection, a split-thickness skin graft (STSG) was applied over the vascularized neo-dermis. Follow-up clinical examination and the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (DASH) questionnaires were used to assess outcome. At 7 months, the patient had no recurrence of melanoma and a DASH functional reduction of only 6.9%. After approximately 18 months, the patient's wounds had healed with excellent cosmetic and functional results, without any evidence of a web space contracture. These observations suggest that acellular dermis is a useful adjunct for wound coverage of the hand, particularly in areas of functional importance, such as the first dorsal web space.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-244
Number of pages5
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2007


  • Acellular dermis
  • Re-resection
  • Reconstruction of the hand
  • Skin cancer of the hand
  • Web space

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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