Reconstruction of parotidectomy and lateral skull base defects

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Purpose of reviewThe purpose of this review is to summarize the options for reconstruction of parotid and lateral skull base defects based on the size and functional requirements of the defect.Recent findingsFree grafts with dermal fat or acellular human dermis, superficial musculoaponeurotic system flaps, and sternocleidomastoid flaps have been successful in preventing Frey's syndrome and restoring facial contour defects after superficial and total parotidectomy. Lateral skull base resections often require reconstruction with pedicled or free flaps to restore extensive soft tissue and dural defects. Supraclavicular artery island flaps and submental flaps have been recently been gaining popularity for use for these purposes. Free tissue transfer remains the best reconstructive option for repair of large soft tissue and/or dural defects. The most reliable free flap for lateral skull base reconstruction is the anterolateral thigh flap, which is highly versatile because of its large skin paddle and potential for harvest with varying amounts of fascial and muscle tissue.SummaryHere we will summarize the most appropriate and widely used reconstructive options for parotid and lateral skull base defects of various sizes, discussing the most recent evidence pertaining to each technique along with advantages and limitations of each reconstructive strategy.

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