Shock wave therapy reduces necrotic flap zones and induces VEGF expression in animal epigastric skin flap model.

Research paper by Romed R Meirer, Andrea A Brunner, Martina M Deibl, Markus M Oehlbauer, Hildegunde H Piza-Katzer, Florian S FS Kamelger

Indexed on: 29 May '07Published on: 29 May '07Published in: Journal of reconstructive microsurgery


The effect of extracorporeal shock wave (ESW) therapy on skin flap survival and growth factor expression was investigated in a rat model using epigastric skin flap. Treatment and control groups each contained 20 animals. ESW effectively enhanced epigastric skin flap survival by significant reduction of areas of necrotic zones. At day 7 after the operation, necrotic zones of 4.2% were found in the ESW-treated group compared with 18.3% in the control group ( P < 0.01). Concomitantly, in tissue samples adjacent to the necrosis areas, increased vascular endothelial growth factor expression was observed in the ESW-treated animals (median 84.5%, range 57.4 to 94.5%) compared with the control group (median 46.7%, range 29.1 to 93.1%; P < 0.1). However, for expression of basic fibroblast growth factor, no difference was found between the two groups. The authors conclude that the success of the shock wave treatment may partly be due to modulation of growth factor expression.