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Vaccine Scheduling Update: We’re experiencing very high call volumes from people interested in getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Currently, our vaccine supply is very small, and we are unable to accept phone calls to schedule vaccine appointments. Please check back here for updates.

Methods of Wound Closure

Though all surgeons close wounds, there are times when the special skill of a plastic surgeon is needed. Their expertise can improve healing and reduce scaring when a wound is large, jagged or cannot be covered with the skin currently at the site.

Every individual and surgery is unique. Our surgeons are skilled and practiced at determining what type of wound closure option is best given the specific circumstances.

Small wounds

Traditionally, doctors have used stitches or sutures to close wounds. While basic suturing techniques continue to be essential, surgeons today have a wide range of materials available, including:

  • Absorbable sutures
  • Adhesives
  • Synthetic sutures
  • Tape

Skin grafts

Skin grafting involves taking a piece of healthy skin from one part of the body and using it to repair another area of the body. Our doctors use skin grafting to cover and close wounds where there is a lack of adjacent skin to use. The transplanted healthy skin heals into the new location. Skin grafts are often used to help burn victims.

Tissue expansion

This technique allows plastic surgeons to stretch the skin and underlying tissue. First, a balloon is inserted under the skin. Then, over time, the balloon is filled with water. The process stretches the skin and soon there is enough excess to close the wound. The method is most often used in breast reconstructions, but can be useful in many other parts of the body.


During this intricate procedure, surgeons move skin, muscle and/or bone from one part of the body to another area. The flap may be kept alive with its own blood vessels or blood vessels from this flap are reattached to vessels in the new location using microsurgery. Flaps are frequently used to treat cancer and trauma patients.

Risks and Outcomes

All surgery has risks. Potential complication can be prevented by carefully following all instructions both before and after surgery. Our surgeons carefully review the procedure and potential risks with each person.

Penn Center for Wound Healing and Reconstruction

The Penn Center for Wound Healing and Reconstruction brings together expert physicians from multiple surgical and medical specialties to form a comprehensive wound center for the treatment of acute and chronic wounds.

Learn more about the Center.

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