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General plastic surgery


The Department of Plastic Surgery is involved in several research projects concerning general topics in plastic surgery.

Reconstructions of vulvoperineal defects

A vulvoperineal defect is a wound in the anal or vulvar area, that often occurs after resection of a tumor. Because of the size of the wound, primary wound closure is often not possible. Such cases require a reconstruction, to enable wound closure.

PhD candidate Joke Oosta-Hellinga coordinates a study on the quality of life and surgical outcomes after a vulvoperineal reconstruction following surgical resection of cancer. There are several techniques that can be used, but the lotus petal flap is mostly used in the UMCG. This technique has recently been developed, and therefore, studies comparing different techniques are scarce.

Free flap reconstructions

Trauma, tumor resections and pressure sores often lead to large soft tissue defects. Plastic surgeons increasingly use transplantation of own body tissue to close such defects. There are several techniques that can be used, such as the free flap reconstruction. In this procedure, tissue is transplanted from one part of the body to another part of the body. Flap survival depends heavily on the blood supply. There are different methods for preoperative vascular mapping, to determine the exact location of blood vessels. Plastic surgeon Jeroen Smit, PhD, has investigated which methods can be used for vascular mapping. He also compared new innovative techniques with the techniques that are currently used in clinical practice, focusing on added value and user friendliness. Plastic surgeon Steven Klein, PhD, determined the reliability of the different methods and their advantages and disadvantages.

The PhD thesis of Steven Klein can be downloaded from this link

A Dutch summary of the PhD thesis of Jeroen Smit can be downloaded from this link


Burn wound infections increase the risk of morbidity and mortality, especially when gram-negative bacteria are involved. It is unclear how these types of bacteria influence the innate immune system. Plastic surgeon Lars-Uwe Lahoda, PhD, found a specific protein that plays an important role in infection control of burns. He further suggests a new treatment option for infected burn wounds, which is protegrine-1 mixed with fibrin glue.

A Dutch summary of the PhD thesis of Lars-Uwe Lahoda can be downloaded from this link

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