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Application of the pinwheel flap for closure of a large defect of the scalp
  1. Ioannis Varnalidis1,
  2. Angelos Mantelakis2,
  3. Harry Victor Michael Spiers3 and
  4. Athina N Papadopoulou1
  1. 1 Plastic Surgery, BodySculpture, Thessaloniki, Greece
  2. 2 General Surgery, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, Ashford, UK
  3. 3 Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary (HPB) Unit, Manchester Royal Infirmary, Manchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Angelos Mantelakis, aggelosmantelakis{at}


A 74-year-old man had a resultant large oval scalp defect of 12×6 cm (72 cm2) following an excision of a stage IIIA melanoma. We decided to cover the defect with the pinwheel flap, with the aim to provide a good cosmetic result, preservation of hair follicles and minimal donor-site morbidity. This local flap has been traditionally used for much smaller defects. Four L-shaped flaps were designed at equal distances on the vertical and horizontal axes of the defect. The L-shaped flap had a length of 1.5 times the half diameter of the defect (4.5 cm). The incision was made through galea aponeurosis and subsequently undermined at least 3 cm to assist flap advancement. Z-plasties increased the rotation of the flap when it was required. This yielded an excellent reconstructive result at 1-year follow-up, demonstrating the usefulness of the pinwheel flap in large defects on the scalp region.

  • dermatology
  • skin
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  • Contributors IV: consultant plastic surgeon who performed the operation and was also involved in the design of the manuscript and its review. AM: was shadowing IV and contributed to the writing, review of literature and review of the final draft. He has also undertaken the role of submitting this paper to BMJ case reports. HVMS: contributed significantly to the review of literature, writing of the manuscript and correcting of the final draft. ANP: contributed significantly to the writing of the manuscript, review of literature and review of the manuscript. She also wrote the abstract.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

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