150 days ago,
Stress-relaxation is a well-established mechanism for laboratory skin stretching, with limited clinical application in conventional suturing techniques due to the inherent, concomitant induction of ischemia, necrosis and subsequent suture failure. Skin defects that cannot be primarily closed are a common difficulty during reconstructive surgery. The TopClosure tension-relief system (TRS) is a novel device for wound closure closure, providing secured attachment to the skin through a wide area of attachment, in an adjustable manner, enabling primary closure of medium to large skin defects. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficiency of the TopClosure TRS as a substitute for skin grafting and flaps for primary closure of large soft tissue defects by stress-relaxation. We present three demonstrative cases requiring resection of large to huge tumors customarily requiring closure by skin graft or flaps. TRS was applied during surgery serving as a tension-relief platform for tension sutures, to enable primary skin-defect closure by cycling of stress-relaxation, and following surgery as skin-secure system until complete wound closure. All skin defects ranging from 7 to 26 cm in width were manipulated by the TRS through stress-relaxation, without undermining of skin, enabling primary skin closure and eliminating the need for skin grafts and flaps. Immediate wound closure ranged 26 to 135 min. TRS was applied for 3 to 4 weeks. Complications were minimal and donor site morbidity was eliminated. Surgical time, hospital stay and costs were reduced and wound aesthetics were improved. In this case series we present a novel technology that enables the utilization of the viscoelastic properties of the skin to an extreme level, extending the limits of primary wound closure by the stress-relaxation principle. This is achieved via a simple device application that may aid immediate primary wound closure and downgrade the complexity of surgical procedures for a wide range of applications on a global scale.