Background: Primary closure of the surgical wound during neurosurgical procedures is sometimes difficult because of limited ability to expand the scalp, or because the skin defect is large. Hence, our institution recently adopted the technique of intraoperative tissue expansion using a Foley catheter for these cases. We describe this easily accomplished, readily available, effective, economical technique and describe our experience performing the technique. Methods: With this procedure, the subcutaneous tissue (usually the subperiosteal layer) surrounding the skin defect is dissected to make a subcutaneous pocket in which to place a 20-French Foley catheter. The standard expander is a 30-mL balloon. The catheter is inserted into the subcutaneous pocket, and the balloon is inflated with 10–30 mL of saline for 5 minutes, after which the balloon is deflated for 3 minutes in a cyclic loading manner. After sufficient expansion, the primary closure of the surgical wound is achieved with minimal tension on the surrounding skin. Results: Between November 2018 and February 2020, we performed this technique in 5 patients, each with a large surgical defect in the scalp. Primary closure was achieved, and postoperative wound healing was excellent in all 5 patients. Conclusions: Intraoperative skin expansion using a Foley catheter—which is easily performed, readily available, and economical—can be used to achieve surgical wound closure during various neurosurgical procedures.
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