BACKGROUND. Several technical aspects of scalp-reduction procedures still need to be clearly elucidated: in particular, (a) the quantitative effects provided by different amounts of subgaleal undermining, (b) the immediate gains provided by increasing amount of tension when advancing a scalp flap, and (c) the eventual benefits provided by galeotomies. OBJECTIVE. The aim of the present paper is to report on some biomechanical properties of scalp flaps as related to serial scalp reduction procedures for correction of male pattern baldness. METHODS. Data were collected by stepwise loading of 20 scalp flaps, obtained by a reversed-Y scalp incision, after increasing amounts of undermining, as well as after performing three galeotomies. RESULTS. Increasing amounts of tension (while advancing a scalp flap) affect the compliance of a scalp flap in a non-linear fashion; increasing amounts of undermining permit obtaining significant, but not proportional, gains; performing galeotomies is a useful adjunct to decrease the amount of closing tension when performing scalp-reduction procedures. CONCLUSION. When performing serial scalp reductions, to take into account the biomechanics of scalp flaps may be of some utility in obtaining an optimal result.
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