Pharyngeal Flap and the Internal Carotid in Velocardiofacial Syndrome

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Internal carotid artery anomalies have been documented as a common clinical feature in velocardiofacial syndrome. There has been some controversy over the need for preoperative imaging procedures, such as magnetic resonance angiography, when planning pharyngeal surgery for correcting velopharyngeal insufficiency. The purpose of this article is to describe 20 patients with velocardiofacial syndrome who received comprehensive evaluation and underwent pharyngeal flap surgery within a 2-year period and to report the technique used for dissecting the flap and the surgical outcomes. Anomalies of the major neck vessels were present in all cases, but 5 of these 20 cases had particularly severe anomalies of the internal carotid arteries that placed the vessels directly deep within the donor site for the pharyngeal flap. Surgery was carried out successfully in all 20 cases using a modified approach after radiographic imaging was performed to locate the arteries. In the 5 cases with severe malpositioning of the internal carotid arteries, it was clear that the vessels could have been injured had their location not been identified and the surgical approach modified to avoid them.Arch Facial Plast Surg.2002;4:73-80

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