Equine limb wounds often heal slowly by epithelialization, and large scars are a frequent end result. In some ways, they resemble the wound associated with human tibial injuries. The literature indicates that previous investigators have failed to transfer free skin flaps successfully in the horse. In this paper, we review our experimental work with the deep circumflex iliac flap in the horse. Dissections of 20 cadavers confirmed the anatomical consistency of the flap. Four flaps survived well when elevated as island flaps, but five orthotopic and nine heterotopic free flap transfers all failed. The cause of failure is still unknown, but our experiments suggested that the horse must be highly susceptible to ischemic reperfusion injury
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