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Aesthetic Plast Surg. 2013 Oct;37(5):1003-9. doi: 10.1007/s00266-013-0151-z. Epub 2013 May 31.

Pre- and/or postsurgical administration of estradiol benzoate increases skin flap viability in female rats.

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  • 1Department of Pathological Anatomy, University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy, Košice, Slovak Republic.



It has been shown that estrogens have a protective effect with regard to tissue ischemia. Therefore, in this macroscopic and histological investigation, the effect of estradiol benzoate on skin flap viability was studied in sham-operated and ovariectomized Sprague-Dawley rats.


Three months prior to flap surgery a group of rats underwent ovariectomy, while the remaining animals underwent a sham operation. Subsequently, all rats had a 2 × 8-cm skin flap created on the dorsum. Rats were randomly divided into estradiol- or saline-treated groups. Treatment started either on the day of flap excision or 3 days prior to the surgery.


Our results showed that administration of estradiol benzoate prior to and after flap surgery significantly decreases skin flap necrosis in both sham-operated and ovariectomized rats, with the highest survival rate in animals where treatment started 3 days prior to flap surgery.


In conclusion, the observed protective effect of estradiol on skin flap viability could potentially be applied to plastic and reconstructive surgery in postmenopausal women. Nevertheless, further research is needed to explain the exact underlying mechanism and to find the optimal treatment protocol for human clinical practice.

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