Closure of Challenging Pediatric Scalp Wounds by a Tension-Relief System

Asaf Olshinka*, Dean Ad-El, Eyal Kalish, Tamir Shay, Dafna Shilo Yaacobi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pediatric scalp defects may be challenging, due to their variant tension level and specific etiologies. Tissue characteristics and pre- and post-management considerations may pose difficulties to reconstruction in the pediatric patient. Primary closure is the preferred surgical technique but is not always possible. Various techniques have been described for facilitating primary wound closure, by reducing tension from the skin wound margins. The authors use a tension-relief system in some challenging scalp wounds when simple primary closure cannot be achieved. This enables primary closure without tension on the surgical margins, and may thus preclude the need for other closure techniques such as tissue-expanders, grafts, and flaps. The authors describe our use of a tension-relief system in 21 pediatric patients treated during 2017-2020, for congenital deformities, vascular malformations and other skin lesions, traumatic wounds, burn scars, and complicated surgical wounds with and without hardware exposure. A tension-relief system is a prompt, simple-to-use, safe, and low-cost surgical solution that offers several advantages over other techniques when tension-free primary intention closure is not possible. These benefits include less extensive surgery, fewer surgeries and associated anesthesia, shorter treatment period and hospitalization, better scarring, lower distress and burden to patients and their families, better pain-control, the absence of donor-site with its comorbidities, and less bleeding and risk of damaging adjacent structures. Based on our experience and the system characteristics detailed, the authors recommend using the described technique, which is convenient, accessible, and reliable, to close challenging scalp wounds in pediatric patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E650-E652
JournalJournal of Craniofacial Surgery
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Pediatric
  • primary closure
  • scalp wound
  • tension-relief system
  • wound closure


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