What is the role of surgery in the treatment of aplasia cutis congenita (ACC)?

Updated: Jul 31, 2018
  • Author: Joy Wan, MD, MSCE; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Surgical repair is not usually indicated in aplasia cutis congenita (ACC) if the defect is small. Recovery is uneventful, with gradual epithelialization and formation of a hairless, atrophic scar over several weeks. Small underlying bony defects usually close spontaneously during the first year of life.

Surgical repair of large or multiple scalp defects may require excision with primary closure, if feasible, or the use of tissue expanders and rotation of a flap to fill the defect. Occasionally, skin or bone grafting may be required.

Patients with large, full-thickness scalp defects may face a treatment dilemma: conservative versus surgical therapy of the defect. Complete osseous regeneration of a large skull defect associated with aplasia cutis congenita has been obtained with a conservative approach of skin care and topical antibiotics. No surgical treatment of bone or soft tissue reconstruction was necessary. On the other hand, aplasia cutis congenita of the scalp may be complicated by sagittal sinus hemorrhage or thrombosis, and primary closure with scalp flaps may prevent a potentially fatal outcome.

Truncal and limb defects, despite their large size, usually epithelialize and form atrophic scars, which can later be revised if necessary.

Patients should be evaluated for evidence of epidermolysis bullosa before a surgical endeavor is undertaken.

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