Eric G Halvorson

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States

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Publications (29)62.39 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Reconstruction of the ascending portion of the mandible, including the angle, ramus, and condyle, can be a challenging surgical problem. Many treatment options are available, but no single procedure has been able to restore long-term form and function in every case. Currently, autologous nonvascularized bone grafts are the most common treatment, with the costochondral graft as the historic leader. Nonvascularized grafts can often restore vertical height and normal function but may face the challenge of long-term durability secondary to bone resorption. Emerging techniques in microvascular surgery may offer an alternative approach with the benefits of resistance to resorption and infection by maintaining a viable blood supply to the graft. Vascularized grafts may thus be used to full advantage in cases where prior surgery, scarring, disrupted vasculature, or radiation damage may compromise the long-term surgical success of a nonvascularized graft. This article reviews the literature and summarizes key points regarding nonvascularized and vascularized treatment modalities for reconstruction of the ascending mandible. In addition, we present the use of the femoral medial epicondyle free flap based on the descending genicular vascular pedicle as a novel reconstruction of the ascending portion of the mandible with minimal donor-site morbidity. Knowledge of all available options will aid the surgeon in achieving the optimal reconstruction for their patient and improve long-term outcomes.
    The Journal of craniofacial surgery. 08/2014;
  • Cindy Wu, John L Clayton, Eric G Halvorson
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    ABSTRACT: This study aims to determine the relationship between race and ischemic complications in women undergoing breast reconstruction with pedicled TRAM (pTRAM) and perforator flaps (DIEP). A retrospective, cross-sectional study of women who underwent breast reconstruction utilizing either pTRAM or DIEP flaps from March 1, 2002 to September 1, 2012 was performed. Clinical and demographic variables, including race and ischemic complications (mastectomy flap necrosis, fat necrosis, partial abdominal flap necrosis, vascular compromise requiring reoperation), were examined. Fat necrosis was graded using a previously established scale (grade I = radiologically visible, II = palpable, III = palpable and visible, IV = symptomatic). Over the 10-year study period, adequate follow-up was available for 138 women (94 Caucasian, 36 African American) who underwent pTRAM or DIEP. Fat necrosis occurred more frequently in the pTRAM group (53.5% vs. 17.4%, P < 0.001). There was no statistically significant difference in partial flap necrosis or mastectomy flap necrosis between the 2 groups. The DIEP group had a higher rate of vascular compromise requiring reoperation (13% vs. 0, P = 0.003).In the pTRAM group, there was a higher rate of fat necrosis (77% vs. 45.6%, P < 0.001) and grade IV fat necrosis in African Americans (42.8% vs. 9.5%, P = 0.005). Rates of other ischemic complications were comparable between the 2 racial groups. In the DIEP group, ischemic complications were comparable between the 2 racial groups. After stratifying by flap type and race, we saw no differences in mastectomy flap necrosis (P = 0.0182). African Americans undergoing pTRAM flap are at higher risk for grade IV fat necrosis but not mastectomy flap necrosis or partial flap necrosis. This may be due to difficulty using physical examination to judge the vascular status of a pedicle flap that is known to undergo significant changes in vascular physiology following transfer. Intraoperative assessment of perfusion using new technologies may be useful in these higher risk patients.
    Annals of plastic surgery 03/2014; · 1.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The 2013 Boston Marathon bombings resulted in a large and unexpected influx of patients requiring acute multidisciplinary surgical care. The authors describe the surgical management experience of these patients at Brigham & Women's Hospital and Brigham & Women's Faulkner Hospital, with a particular focus on the important role played by reconstructive plastic surgery. The authors suggest that this experience illustrates the value of reconstructive plastic surgery in the treatment of these patients specifically and of trauma patients in general, and argue for the increasing importance of promoting our identity as a specialty.
    Plastic and reconstructive surgery 12/2013; 132(6):1623-7. · 2.74 Impact Factor
  • James F Fraser, Eric G Halvorson, John B Mulliken
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    ABSTRACT: Theodore Dunham was first to perform an island flap in 1892. His 2-stage procedure was done in a single stage several years later by George Monks who credited Dunham but received much of the recognition. Despite the important role that the island flap continues to play in modern reconstructive surgery, little is known about the life and career of Theodore Dunham. This article analyzes a variety of primary sources (publications, special collections, and interviews with his grandson) to chronicle Dunham's discovery of the island flap in the context of medical education and surgical training in the late 19th century. Dunham published many articles on a wide range of topics but his most lasting contribution to plastic surgery was the island flap.
    Annals of plastic surgery 08/2013; · 1.29 Impact Factor
  • Plastic and reconstructive surgery 08/2013; 132(2):317e-8e. · 2.74 Impact Factor
  • Cindy Wu, Sendia Kim, Eric G Halvorson
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    ABSTRACT: Laser-assisted indocyanine green angiography (ICG-A) has been promoted to assess perfusion of random skin, pedicled, and free flaps. Few studies address its potential limitations. Thirty-seven patients who underwent reconstructive procedures with ICG-A were studied retrospectively to determine the correlation between clinical findings and ICG-A. Indocyanine green angiography underestimated perfusion when areas of less than or equal to 25% uptake were not debrided and remained perfused. Indocyanine green angiography overestimated perfusion when areas with greater than 25% uptake developed necrosis. Of 14 random skin flaps, ICG-A underestimated perfusion in 14% and overestimated in 14%. In 16 patients undergoing perforator flap breast reconstruction, ICG-A correlated with computed tomographic angiogram (CTA) in 85%. Indocyanine green angiography underestimated perfusion in 7% and overestimated in 7%. In 8/11 patients undergoing fasciocutaneous flaps, ICG-A aided in donor site selection. In 3/6 ALT flaps, a better unilateral blush was found that correlated with Doppler. In all 3, a dominant perforator was found. In 11 patients, there was a 9% underestimation of flap perfusion. In 3 pedicled flaps, there was a 66% underestimation and 33% overestimation of perfusion. Indocyanine green angiography often confirmed our clinical/radiologic findings in abdominal perforator and fasciocutaneous flaps. It tended to underestimate perfusion in pedicle and skin flaps. When clinical examination was obvious, ICG-A rendered clear-cut findings. When clinical examination was equivocal, ICG-A tended to provide ambiguous findings, demonstrating that a distinct cutoff point does not exists for every patient or flap. Indocyanine green angiography is a promising but expensive technology that would benefit from standardization. Further research is needed before ICG-A can become a reliable tool for surgeons.
    Annals of plastic surgery 05/2013; 70(5):613-9. · 1.29 Impact Factor
  • I Janelle Wagner, Winnie M Tong, Eric Glenn Halvorson
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    ABSTRACT: PURPOSE: Fat necrosis (FN) is a common complication of autologous breast reconstruction, yet no classification system exists to describe it. We sought to develop and validate a tool for meaningful reporting, comparison of techniques, and treatment planning. Our hypothesis was that a valid classification system would demonstrate higher grades of FN for pedicled transverse rectus abdominus myocutaneous (pTRAM) flaps as compared to free flaps (FF). METHODS: A classification system for FN was developed: grade I, radiologic evidence only; grade II, palpable but not visible FN; grade III, palpable and visible FN; and grade IV, symptomatic FN. For validation, we applied this system to patients who had undergone pTRAM flaps from 2002 to 2006 and FF from 2006 to 2010 at our institution. RESULTS: We performed 93 pTRAM flaps in 69 patients and 102 FF in 69 patients. One patient had grade I FN and was observed. Of the 29 patients with grade II FN, 48% were observed, 17% had biopsy, and 35% underwent debridement. Of the 9 patients with grade III FN, 11% underwent biopsy and 89% had debridement. All patients with grade IV FN underwent debridement. The distribution of FN differed between pTRAM and FF. The mean FN grade for patients undergoing pTRAM was 1.4 versus 0.4 for those undergoing FF (P < 0.05). Fat necrosis requiring reoperation was more frequent in the pTRAM group (23.7% vs 5.9%, P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Our validation study confirmed that FN grade was associated with the need for surgery and was higher for pedicled flaps as compared to FFs. As it is similar to the Baker grading system for capsular contracture, this classification system is familiar to all plastic surgeons. It is simple, easy to remember, clinically oriented, and could be readily incorporated into outcome studies of autologous breast reconstruction.
    Annals of plastic surgery 03/2013; · 1.29 Impact Factor
  • Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 02/2013; 68(2):e48-9. · 4.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION: Professionalism is now recognized as a core competency for graduate medical education and maintenance of certification. However, few models exist in plastic surgery that define, teach, and assess professionalism as a competency. The purpose of this project was to evaluate the effectiveness of a professionalism curriculum in an academic plastic surgery practice. METHODS: We created and conducted a 6-wk, 12-h course for health care professionals in plastic surgery (faculty, residents, nurses, medical students). Teaching methods included didactic lectures, journal club, small group discussions, and book review. Topics included: (1) Professionalism in Our Culture, (2) Leadership Styles, (3) Modeling Professional Behavior, (4) Leading Your Team, (5) Managing Oneself, and (6) Leading While You Work. Using Kirkpatrick methodology to assess perception of the course (level 1 data), learning of the material (level 2 data), effect on behavior (level 3 data), and impact on the organization (level 4 data), we compiled participant questionnaires, scores from pre- and post-tests, and such metrics as incidence of sentinel events (defined as infractions requiring involvement by senior administrators), number of patient complaints reported to Patient Relations, and patient satisfaction (Press Ganey surveys), for the 6 mo before and after the course. RESULTS: Thirty health care professionals participated in a 6-wk course, designed to improve professionalism in plastic surgery. Level 1 data: Although only 56.5% of respondents felt that the course was a "good use of my time," 73.9% agreed that the course "will help me become a better professional" and 82.6% "would recommend the course to others." Level 2 data: Post-test scores increased from 48% to 70% (P < 0.05), and the ability to recall all six competencies increased from 22% to 73% (P < 0.01). Level 3 data: The number of sentinel events in our division decreased from 13 to three. After the course, one resident was placed on probation and resigned, and two other employees left the division after being counseled on issues of professionalism. Interestingly, these participants did very well on the post-test but were not considered to be "team players." Level 4 data: Patient complaints decreased from 14 to eight, and patient satisfaction increased from 85.5% to 90.5%. CONCLUSIONS: A focused curriculum in professionalism may improve the knowledge of participants and overall behavior of the group, but may not affect individual attitudes. Nevertheless, efforts toward assessing, teaching, and influencing professionalism in plastic surgery are very valuable and should be pursued by educators to help satisfy Graduate Medical Education/Maintenance of Certification requirements and to improve the performance of the organization.
    Journal of Surgical Research 12/2012; · 2.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Few educational programs exist for medical students that address professionalism in surgery, even though this core competency is required for graduate medical education and maintenance of board certification. Lapses in professional behavior occur commonly in surgical disciplines, with a negative effect on the operative team and patient care. Therefore, education regarding professionalism should begin early in the surgeon's formative process, to improve behavior. The goal of this project was to enhance the attitudes and knowledge of medical students regarding professionalism, to help them understand the role of professionalism in a surgical practice. We implemented a 4-h seminar, spread out as 1-h sessions over the course of their month-long rotation, for 4th-year medical students serving as acting interns (AIs) in General Surgery, a surgical subspecialty, Obstetrics/Gynecology, or Anesthesia. Teaching methods included lecture, small group discussion, case studies, and journal club. Topics included Cognitive/Ethical Basis of Professionalism, Behavioral/Social Components of Professionalism, Managing Yourself, and Leading While You Work. We assessed attitudes about professionalism with a pre-course survey and tracked effect on learning and behavior with a post-course questionnaire. We asked AIs to rate the egregiousness of 30 scenarios involving potential lapses in professionalism. A total of 104 AIs (mean age, 26.5 y; male to female ratio, 1.6:1) participated in our course on professionalism in surgery. Up to 17.8% of the AIs had an alternate career before coming to medical school. Distribution of intended careers was: General Surgery, 27.4%; surgical subspecialties, 46.6%; Obstetrics/Gynecology, 13.7%; and Anesthesia, 12.3%. Acting interns ranked professionalism as the third most important of the six core competencies, after clinical skills and medical knowledge, but only slightly ahead of communication. Most AIs believed that professionalism could be taught and learned, and that the largest obstacle was not enough time in the curriculum. The most effective reported teaching methods were mentoring and modeling; lecture and journal club were the effective. Regarding attitudes toward professionalism, the most egregious examples of misconduct were substance abuse, illegal billing, boundary issues, sexual harassment, and lying about patient data, whereas the least egregious examples were receiving textbooks or honoraria from drug companies, advertising, self-prescribing for family members, and exceeding work-hour restrictions. The most important attributes of the professional were integrity and honesty, whereas the least valued were autonomy and altruism. The AIs reported that the course significantly improved their ability to define professionalism, identify attributes of the professional, understand the importance of professionalism, and integrate these concepts into practice (all P < 0.01). Although medical students interested in surgery may already have well-formed attitudes and sophisticated knowledge about professionalism, this core competency can still be taught to and learned by trainees pursuing a surgical career.
    Journal of Surgical Research 07/2012; 177(2):217-23. · 2.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There has been a trend toward limiting perioperative prophylactic antibiotics, based on research not conducted in plastic surgery patients. The authors' university hospital instituted antibiotic prescribing guidelines based on the Surgical Care Improvement Project. An increased rate of surgical-site infections was noted in breast reconstruction patients. The authors sought to determine whether the change in antibiotic prophylaxis regimen affected rates of surgical-site infections. A retrospective study compared patients undergoing breast reconstruction who received preoperative and postoperative prophylactic antibiotics with a group who received only a single dose of preoperative antibiotic. Type of reconstruction and known risk factors for implant infection were noted. Two hundred fifty patients were included: 116 in the pre-Surgical Care Improvement Project group and 134 in the Surgical Care Improvement Project group. The overall rate of surgical-site infections increased from 18.1 percent to 34.3 percent (p = 0.004). Infections requiring reoperation increased from 4.3 percent to 16.4 percent (p = 0.002). Multivariate logistic regression demonstrated that patients in the Surgical Care Improvement group were 4.74 times more likely to develop a surgical-site infection requiring reoperation (95 percent CI, 1.69 to 13.80). Obesity, history of radiation therapy, and reconstruction with tissue expanders were associated with increased rates of surgical-site infection requiring reoperation. Withholding postoperative prophylactic antibiotics in prosthetic breast reconstruction is associated with an increased risk of surgical-site infection, reoperation, and thus reconstructive failure. The optimal duration of postoperative prophylactic antibiotic use is the subject of future study.
    Plastic and reconstructive surgery 05/2012; 130(3):495-502. · 2.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Because of the anatomic variability of the deep inferior epigastric artery, preoperative CT angiography (pCTA) has gained popularity for planning abdominal perforator flap breast reconstruction. This study evaluates how pCTA has affected preoperative planning, operative time, and outcome. We performed a retrospective study of abdominal free flap breast reconstruction at our institution over a 4-year period, with pCTA performed routinely after the first year. Operative time and outcomes were compared between procedures with and without pCTA. Incidental findings were recorded. Between 2006 and 2010, 102 abdominal perforator flap surgeries were performed on 69 patients; of whom, 51 patients had pCTA and 18 did not. pCTA changed preoperative planning in 50% of cases by identifying the best perforator in unilateral cases or perforators with long intramuscular course. Preoperative plan based on pCTA corresponded to operative procedures in 89% of cases. The sensitivity and positive predictive value of pCTA to localize perforators were 79% and 92%, respectively. Operative time was significantly reduced with pCTA for both unilateral (636 vs. 496 minutes, P = 0.017) and bilateral cases (746 vs. 629 minutes, P = 0.05). Rates of fat necrosis, partial flap necrosis, and complete flap loss were comparable between the 2 groups. Incidentalomas were found in 36% of patients. pCTA appears to reduce operative time by minimizing time spent identifying perforators, assisting in side selection for unilateral reconstruction, and optimizing planning when a long intramuscular course is identified. The effect of a learning curve cannot be excluded and is the chief limitation of this study.
    Annals of plastic surgery 05/2012; 68(5):525-30. · 1.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study evaluates how the transition from pedicled transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous (pTRAM) to perforator flaps at an academic center has affected outcome and reimbursement. In 2006, our practice transitioned to almost exclusively perforator flaps for breast reconstruction. This study retrospectively compares pTRAM flaps performed from 2002 to 2006 (group 1) with perforator flaps from 2006 to 2010 (group 2). Operative time, complications, and reimbursement were compared between the 2 groups. We performed 93 pTRAM flaps in 69 patients in group 1 and 102 perforator flaps in 69 patients in group 2. Operative time was shorter in group 1 for unilateral breast reconstruction (399 vs. 543 minutes, P = 0.0001), but no significant difference was noted for bilateral cases (547 vs. 658 minutes, P = 0.1). Fat necrosis requiring reoperation (23.7% vs. 5.9%, P = 0.0004) and partial flap necrosis (20.6% vs. 7.2%, P = 0.045) were more frequent in group 1. There was a higher frequency of abdominal hernia (8.8% vs. 1.6%, P = 0.2) but fewer hematomas (1.5% vs. 10%, P = 0.06) in group 1, although statistical significance was not reached between the 2 groups. Mean adjusted payment per case was $3658.67 for group 1 versus $5256.48 for group 2 (P = 0.004), whereas payment per minute was $9.25 for group 1 versus $9.13 for group 2 (P = 0.9). Perforator flaps appear to be as profitable as pTRAM flaps with lower morbidity. The transition from pTRAM to perforator flap can be done successfully with appropriate resources and support. The development of a perforator flap practice represents an opportunity cost in optimizing patient care and should be an option to patients seeking breast reconstruction.
    Annals of plastic surgery 05/2012; 68(5):489-94. · 1.29 Impact Factor
  • Source
    Aram Harijan, Eric G Halvorson
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    ABSTRACT: Surgeons use eponymous instruments daily, yet the stories behind these instruments are often lost in history. The authors have selected eponymous instruments commonly used in plastic surgery and provide a brief biography of the surgeons who invented them. This list represents more than two centuries of surgical history, and the physicians come from a number of disciplines, including general surgery, plastic surgery, ophthalmic surgery, and rural medicine. Remembering the life stories of surgeon inventors enriches our understanding of the history of our profession and allows us to appreciate our instruments instead of taking them for granted.
    Plastic and reconstructive surgery 01/2011; 127(1):456-65. · 2.74 Impact Factor
  • Article: Reply.
    Eric G Halvorson
    Plastic and reconstructive surgery 11/2010; 126(5):1794. · 2.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An abstract is unavailable. This article is available as HTML full text and PDF.
    Plastic &amp Reconstructive Surgery 09/2010; 126:21. · 3.54 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study assesses the usefulness of the omentum in the reconstruction of complex perineal defects, following abdominoperineal resection or pelvic exenteration, for anorectal malignancy. Between 2000 and 2008, 70 patients (mean age: 59 years) with anorectal malignancy underwent abdominoperineal resection (n = 57) or pelvic exenteration (n = 13) and were reconstructed by primary repair alone (n = 13), primary repair with omentum (n = 16), myocutaneous flap alone (n = 28), or myocutaneous flap with omentum (n = 13). Patients with and without omental flaps were compared by Student t test and chi2 analysis. Omental flaps were based on a single pedicle, tunneled in the retrocolic plane lateral to the ligament of Treitz, and transposed across the sacrum to the pelvic floor. In total, 29 patients had pelvic floor and perineal reconstruction with the omentum, and 41 patients had reconstruction without the omentum. Incidence of major pelvic complications (abscess, urinoma, deep vein thrombosis, flap dehiscence, hernia, bowel obstruction, fistula) was greater in the "no omentum" group (25/41 patients, 61%), compared with the "omentum" group (6/29 patients, 21%) (P < 0.01). No differences were observed regarding age, stage, incidence of radiotherapy, blood loss, length of stay, or mortality. Use of the omentum as a primary flap, or in combination with a myocutaneous flap, in the reconstruction of complex perineal defects, is associated with a decreased incidence of postoperative complications, strongly supporting the use of the omentum in pelvic floor reconstruction.
    Annals of plastic surgery 05/2010; 64(5):559-62. · 1.29 Impact Factor
  • Eric G Halvorson
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    ABSTRACT: The method of abdominal hernia repair known as components separation, described by Ramirez et al. in 1990, has enjoyed widespread popularity because of the sound anatomical principles it uses and most importantly the clinical success of the procedure. Although the authors who described this technique made no proprietary claims and did not discuss the history of abdominal hernia repair, they have certainly been credited with the development of this procedure. With this article, the author hopes to place components separation in historical perspective, and give credit to Donald Herron Young, who published the concept of external oblique relaxing incisions for repair of epigastric hernias in 1961. Born in Canada, Young studied and worked as a surgeon in England for most of his life. A biographical sketch is included.
    Plastic and reconstructive surgery 11/2009; 124(5):1545-9. · 2.74 Impact Factor
  • Eric G Halvorson
    Plastic and reconstructive surgery 08/2009; 124(1):187e-8e. · 2.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The superficial temporal artery and vein (STA/V) are often considered suboptimal recipient vessels due to anecdotal reports that they are unreliable and prone to spasm. This is unfortunate, as their position greatly facilitates reconstruction of the scalp and orbit. We present our experience with 28 patients who underwent microvascular craniofacial reconstruction of oncological defects using the STA/V as recipients over a 4-year period at a single institution. Rates of vessel thrombosis, total flap loss, and partial flap loss were not significantly different from 282 flaps anastomosed to neck vessels. With knowledge of the anatomy and proper technique, the STA/V are reliable and available in most patients and can facilitate microvascular orbit and scalp reconstruction. The proximity they offer allows more flexibility in flap pedicle length requirement and avoids the use of vein grafts. Caution should be exercised if there is a history of radiation therapy.
    Journal of Reconstructive Microsurgery 05/2009; 25(6):383-7. · 1.00 Impact Factor