Determination of the closing force of a surgical wound
A technique has been developed to determine the closing force of a surgical wounds the essential first stage in any quantitative study into the (often proposed but never proven) relationship between wound closing force and the appearance of the resulting scar. Using a new 'static' method, all the inherent problems of the dynamic methods described by previous workers have been avoided. This method is described fully and the results from the ten patients studied are presented. The feasibility of long-term relief of tension from a healing wound by application of adhesive tapes or a metal splint is discussed. The characteristics of a suitable tape are described, but the results of preliminary mechanical tests on several tapes snuggest that an ideal tape is not yet available. Following the acquisition of materials with which to make tracings of skin under sterile conditions, two other techniques were developed that could prove useful in qualitative studies of human wound healing. The deformation of the surrounding skin as a wound is closed, or as flaps are transposed, may be monitored by tracing a grid, previously applied to the operation site with a rubber stamp, before and after surgery. Skin graft contraction may be investigated by tracing the outline of the graft at intervals following surgery and computation of the enclosed area (after digitization). Preliminary results illustrating both these techniques are presented.