Aesthetic and Functional Evaluation of Large Full-Thickness Vermilion and Lower Lip Defects Reconstruction

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Background:It is hardly to reconstruct a huge defect of lower lip by using of partial flap which brings no mouth closing functional problem. In this study, we would like to introduce our experience in large full-thickness vermilion and lower lip/chin defects reconstruction, and also focus on the evaluation of the surgery effects.Methods:The large lower lip and chin (include vermilion) reconstruction were performed in Sichuan Provincial People's Hospital (2012–2015). The surgery experience was introduced in this study first. In the following section, after a statement of these basic problems, various situations involving are investigated, such as the surgical effects of aesthetic and function that were evaluated through a visual analogue scale (VAS) by doctors and patients separately. The VAS score assessments of 2 kinds of surgery were collected and compared.Results:A total of 7 patients use the tongue flap alone. Four patients use the combination of the free forearm flap and the anterior ventral tongue flap (COMBO flap). The VAS score of doctors group was significantly lower than the patients group (P < 0.05), and the aesthetic appearance was excellent (>90 points). Language features were not affected (>90 points). Slight mouth opening problems exist on these patients who were used COMBO flaps (>80 points; <90 points). The drooling and drumming gas problems were not observed. These 11 patients had no recurrence within 12 months after the operation.Conclusion:The 1:1 ratio between upper and lower lip is crucial to the design of anterior ventral tongue flap which brings with an excellent 3-dimensional morphologic and anatomic structure outcome. The bite block might become an essential operation step for vermilion reconstruction by using of tongue flap. And the COMBO flap may enhance the facial aesthetics and oral function for the reconstruction.

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