The Use of Acellular Urinary Bladder Matrix as Coverage for Fasciocutaneous Free Flap Donor Sites: An Alternative to Traditional Grafting Procedures

James C. Melville, Nicholas A. Bennetts, Lauro Tijerina, Jonathan Shum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose The purpose of this review is to 1) evaluate our early experience with urinary bladder matrix as a dressing for the management of complex wounds subsequent to fasciocutaneous or osteocutaneous vascularized tissue harvests, 2) assess coverage of exposed tendons and the duration of granulation and epithelial coverage, and 3) assess esthetic and functional outcomes compared with traditional means for the management of vascularized tissue harvest sites. Patients and Methods This prospective study consisted of 8 consecutive patients in whom a substantial cutaneous component was harvested as part of a vascularized tissue reconstruction, which did not permit for primary closure (n = 7) or had skin graft failure (exposed tendon) that required additional treatment (n = 1). Results Functional and esthetic outcomes were comparable to those of traditional methods of donor site closure as determined by clinical evaluation and subjective assessment by the patient. In all patients, no additional grafting was required to achieve full coverage. Irregularities of the wound achieved a level plane with granulation tissue an average of 3 to 4 weeks after surgery, followed by an additional 5 to 8 weeks for epithelialization. Wound care was minimal and included twice-daily wet-to-dry dressings. It was noted that complete wound healing was delayed in the urinary bladder matrix group, which required more attention during wound care when compared with published data. Advantages included facilitation of a robust granulation layer that leveled wound irregularities and avoidance of an additional skin graft site. Conclusions The use of urinary bladder matrix is a viable option for the rehabilitation of donor sites of vascularized tissue that include skin. Benefits include the avoidance of an additional skin graft donor site, facilitation of epithelialization over exposed tendons, leveling of the donor site texture, and an equivalent esthetic result compared with current practices for wound coverage. The success of this technique may be limited by the cost of materials and the protracted course for wound epithelialization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2254-2260
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


Dive into the research topics of 'The Use of Acellular Urinary Bladder Matrix as Coverage for Fasciocutaneous Free Flap Donor Sites: An Alternative to Traditional Grafting Procedures'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this