Oromandibular Reconstruction with the Radial-Forearm Osteocutaneous Flap: Experience with 60 Consecutive Cases
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One of the more difficult problems in reconstructive surgery of the head and neck is replacement of bone and soft tissue lost because of injury, osteomyelitis, or malignancy. The radial-forearm osteocutaneous flap is an accepted choice for oromandibular reconstruction. This study was undertaken to review one center's experience with 60 consecutive cases of oromandibular reconstruction with the radial-forearm osteocutaneous flap. Records of the 38 men and 22 women (mean age, 60 years; range, 26 to 86 years) were reviewed for tumor location, defect and bone length, flap failure rate, recipient- and donor-site complications, length of surgery, and hospital stay. Cancer resection was the reason for 97 percent of reconstructions; 33 percent of flaps were used to reconstruct a lateral defect of the mandible, 40 percent a lateral-central defect, and 27 percent a lateral-central-lateral defect. Mean skin flap size was 55 cm2 (range, 15 to 117 cm2) and mean bone length, 9.4 cm (range, 5 to 14 cm). The microvascular success rate was 98.3 percent. Complications included fracture of the donor radius (15 percent), nonunion of the mandible (5 percent), and hematoma (8.3 percent). These results are comparable to results reported in the literature with other radial forearm flaps. The free radial osteocutaneous flap is a safe and reliable choice for mandibular reconstruction. It offers sufficient bone to reconstruct large defects and can provide adequate pedicle length for vessel anastomosis to the contralateral side of the neck. The above attributes make the radial forearm osteocutaneous flap one of the "first line" flap choices for oromandibular reconstruction.
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