Objective—To assess the in vitro performance of suction drains.
Sample Population—11 drainage systems (3 rigid drains and 8 compressible drains [2 grenade type, 5 concertina type, and 1 pancake type]).
Procedures—A pressure transducer was connected to the patient end of each drainage system. Serial pressure measurements were obtained during incremental addition and removal of air into the reservoir of each system, followed by incremental addition of water. The volume of air removed to restore the initial suction was recorded. Maximum filling volume was compared with the stated reservoir volume. For compressible drains, the suction generated following 3 compression methods was compared.
Results—The initial suction generated by the drainage systems ranged from −633.4 ± 14.7 mm Hg to −90.1 ± 19.5 mm Hg. Rigid drains had greater initial suction than compressible drains. For all compressible drains, compression with 2 hands, rather than 1, produced greater suction, apart from the pancake-type (200-mL reservoir) drains for which the reverse occurred. For grenade-type drains, rolling the reservoir from apex to base generated greater suction than 1-hand compression. Maximum filling volume was lower than stated for the concertina-type drains with 50-mL, 25-mL, and 400-mL reservoirs and the rigid-type drain with a 200-mL reservoir. As increments of air or water were added, compressible drains lost suction rapidly up to a fill of 20% to 30% and then more gradually. Rigid drains lost suction more slowly.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Drainage systems varied widely in their initial suction and rate of loss of suction during filling.
Case Description—A 4-year-old sexually intact male Labrador Retriever-Poodle mix was admitted to the hospital for treatment of a wound in the left thoracic region. The wound had been debrided and primary closure had been performed by the referring veterinarian 4 days previously.
Clinical Findings—The dog had a 20-cm-long wound covered by a large flap of skin that extended caudally from the scapula over the left side of the thorax. A 3-cm defect was evident at the cranioventral aspect of the wound, from which purulent material was being discharged. The skin flap was necrotic, and the skin surrounding the flap was bruised. Signs of pain were elicited when the wound and surrounding region were palpated. Other findings, including those of thoracic radiography, were unremarkable.
Treatment and Outcome—The wound was debrided, and vacuum-assisted closure (VAC) was initiated for 3 days until a healthy bed of granulation tissue developed. A reconstructive procedure was performed with a rotation flap 3 days after VAC dressing removal. The VAC process was reinitiated 2 days following reconstruction because of an apparent failing of the skin flap viability. After 5 days of VAC, the flap had markedly improved in color and consistency and VAC was discontinued. Successful healing of the flap occurred without the need for debridement or additional intervention.
Clinical Relevance—Use of VAC led to a good overall outcome for the dog, with complete healing achieved. Additional evaluation of this technique for salvaging failing skin flaps is warranted in dogs, particularly considering that no reliable method for flap salvage in veterinary species has been reported to date. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2013;243:863–868)
Objective—To describe the outcome of full-thickness skin grafts used to close skin defects involving the distal aspects of the limbs in cats and dogs and identify factors associated with outcome.
Design—Retrospective case series.
Animals—20 cats and 32 dogs with a skin defect involving the distal aspect of a limb that received 58 full-thickness skin grafts between 2005 and 2012.
Procedures—Data regarding patient signalment, location and cause of the skin defect, surgical and anesthetic duration, and postoperative bandaging protocol were obtained from the medical records. Graft outcome was assessed by interpreting descriptions in the records; skin viability over ≥ 75% of the graft area between 7 and 14 days after surgery was considered a successful outcome.
Results—For 4 of the 58 grafts, graft outcome could not be determined from the medical record. For the remaining grafts, success rate was significantly higher for grafts placed in cats (17/22 [77%]) than in dogs (12/32 [38%]). The overall complication rate was 50%; complications included skin graft failure, donor site dehiscence, and bandage-induced sloughing of skin adjacent to the graft recipient site. In addition to species, anatomic location of the skin defect was identified as a prognostic indicator of graft outcome.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Full-thickness skin grafting had a higher success rate in cats than in dogs. Skin grafts applied to the antebrachium, compared with other locations on the distal aspects of the limbs, were associated with a poorer prognosis.