Simultaneous Anterolateral Thigh Flap and Temporalis Tendon Transfer to Optimize Facial Form and Function After Radical Parotidectomy

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BackgroundExtirpation of aggressive parotid or cutaneous facial tumors often involves facial nerve sacrifice and the creation of a large soft-tissue defect. We describe a method for single-stage reconstruction during radical parotidectomy to restore facial form and function without additional morbidity.MethodsWe conducted a review of immediate reconstruction/reanimation of radical parotidectomy defects with the use of anterolateral thigh (ALT) fat and fascia flaps for facial contouring, orthodromic temporalis tendon transfer (OTTT), cable grafting of the facial nerve, and fascia lata lower lip suspension.ResultsFive patients (mean age, 67.4 years) underwent extirpation of malignant tumors with facial nerve sacrifice resulting in large soft-tissue deficits. All patients had ALT free tissue transfer to correct facial contour defects and OTTT to restore facial form and function. Four patients underwent cable grafting of facial nerve branches. Branches of the motor nerve to the vastus lateralis harvested from the ALT surgical site were used for cable nerve grafting in 3 patients. Fascia lata from the same ALT harvest site was used for lower lip suspension to the OTTT in 4 patients. There were no donor site complications. All patients achieved midfacial symmetry at rest, oral competence with dynamic corner-of-mouth movement, and full eye closure.ConclusionsTumor clearance, symmetric facial appearance, as well as dynamic facial rehabilitation were accomplished in a single-stage procedure using the method described herein. The ALT free flap provides versatile options for soft-tissue defects as well as access to motor nerves optimal for grafting without additional morbidity. Patients undergoing extirpation of malignant tumors requiring facial nerve sacrifice can undergo immediate free tissue contour reconstruction and facial reanimation procedures with no additional morbidity.

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