The Abbé Island Flap for the Reconstruction of Severe Secondary Cleft Lip Deformities

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Primary repair of the cleft lip is often associated with secondary deformities, which require revision and secondary reconstruction. Patients with one or all of the following, a tight lip restricting use of orthodontic appliances, absence of a Cupid's bow, or absence of vermilion tubercle, were treated with the Abbé island flap. A triangular muco-musculo-cutaneous island flap was designed in the central segment of the lower lip. A full-thickness incision of skin, muscle, and mucosa was made in the midline of the upper lip, dividing the lip into two segments, and the island Abbé flap was inserted. One week after surgery, the pedicle of the island flap was divided and the inset of the flap completed. Sixty patients with severe secondary cleft lip deformities (36 males and 24 females) were treated. Good aesthetic and functional results were achieved during 1 to 17 years of follow-up. Insertion of the Abbé flap resulted in release of the tight upper lip and a new, inconspicuous scar. Use of orthodontic appliances was facilitated, and tightness of the tissue, which restricted the expansion of the alveolar process, was eliminated. Adequate tissue was transferred to the upper lip, which improved the bulk of the lip and vermilion tubercle. The retrusion of the midface and the projection of the upper lip were also improved, and the upper and lower lips became better balanced. Donor site morbidities were insignificant. Use of the Abbé flap in selected patients resulted in successful reconstruction of secondary cleft lip deformities.

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