Orbital exenteration reconstruction with rectus abdominis microvascular free flap

Shepherd G. Pryor, Eric J. Moore, Jan L. Kasperbauer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: To determine the course of reconstructive treatment and outcomes with use of the rectus abdominis free flap after orbital exenteration with or without total maxillectomy. STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective chart review of treatment and outcomes of patients who had rectus abdominis free-tissue transfer for orbital exenteration with or without total maxillectomy at the Mayo Clinic between 1994 and 2004. METHODS: Charts of patients who had rectus abdominis free flap reconstruction after orbital exenteration were retrospectively reviewed and the surgical technique evaluated. An explanation of the surgical technique for rectus abdominis free-tissue transfer to the orbital cavity is provided, along with a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of this reconstructive method. RESULTS: Twelve of 13 patients who underwent reconstruction with rectus abdominis free-tissue transfer had a successful outcome (flap viability 92%). Cosmetic results were acceptable both to patients and to surgeons. CONCLUSIONS: Rectus abdominis microvascular free-tissue transfer for repair of orbital exenteration defects is a safe and reliable alternative to the use of the temporalis or the pectoralis major muscle as a pedicle flap; it provides a larger volume of well-vascularized tissue and greater placement flexibility without associated orientation problems; and the long vascular pedicle facilitates the use of multiple donor vessels within the head and neck, which is an advantage in previously irradiated patients. Postoperative care and the donor site defect are well tolerated. The flap allows reliable obturation of the oral maxillectomy defect, and it negates the need for cavity care in these patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1912-1916
Number of pages5
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2005


  • Maxillectomy
  • Orbital exenteration
  • Paranasal sinus cancer
  • Reconstructive surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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