The optimum method for reconstruction of complex lateral oromandibular-cutaneous defects

Daniel G. Deschler, Richard E. Hayden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Background. Ablation of large intraoral cancers can create extensive through-and-through defects of the lateral face, resulting in loss of external facial skin, the lateral and anterior mandible, and the lateral mouth. Repair requires reconstruction of the lips, mandible, and full-thickness cheek defects. Ideal reconstruction with vascularized composite free flaps requires adequate bone and sufficiently large, yet versatile, skin flaps capable of resurfacing extensive intraoral and external defects. Methods. A series of 12 patients with large lateral facial-mandibular defects is reviewed. All patients were treated for squamous cell carcinoma except for 1 patient with osteoblastic sarcoma of the mandible. All patients underwent primary reconstruction with various free flap techniques, including 6 scapular free flaps, 2 iliac crest free flaps, 3 free fibula flaps, and 1 radial forearm flap. Attainment of reconstructive goals, free flap survival, and complication rates were assessed. Results. All defects were successfully reconstructed in the primary setting. No flap failures occurred. One venous occlusion was successfully salvaged. No orocutaneous fistulas or postoperative hematomas were noted. Conclusion. The reconstructive options for extensive defects of the lateral face and jaw are reviewed with attention to the complex three-dimensional soft tissue requirements. The superiority of the scapular composite flap is emphasized because this single free flap provides two independent and versatile skin paddles of optimal thickness in addition to adequate bone stock.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)674-679
Number of pages6
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2000


  • Oromandibular reconstruction
  • Scapula free flap
  • Through and through defect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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