Eight pediatric patients with giant congenital nevi confluent over 21 to 51 percent body surface area were treated by excision and grafting. The nevus was excised to the muscle fascia, and the open wound was grafted with cultured epithelial autografts and split-thickness skin grafts. The patients have been followed from 17 to 56 months. Seventeen operations were performed in the eight patients, excising a mean of 6.9 percent body surface area at each procedure. The mean duration of anesthesia was 3.7 hours, and the mean operative blood loss was 12.3 percent estimated blood volume. The mean “take” for the cultured epithelial autografts was 68 percent, and for the split-thickness skin grafts, 84 percent. Epithelialization of open wound areas adjacent to the grafts was somewhat slower for the cultured epithelial autografts than for the split-thickness skin grafts, but it led to a healed wound in all patients except one. Ten of the 17 areas grafted with cultured epithelial autografts resulted in small open wounds that required regrafting. Wound contraction under the cultured epithelial autografts and under split-thickness skin grafts was similar and depended more on the anatomic site grafted than on the type of graft employed. In 16 of 17 operations, the cultured epithelium remained as a permanent, durable skin coverage. The use of cultured epithelial autografts allowed a larger area of excision than would have been possible with split-thickness skin grafts alone and, therefore, a more rapid removal of nevus. Cultured epithelial autograft are an important new technique in the care of patients with giant congenital nevi.
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