Reconstructed Mandibular Defects: Fibula Free Flaps and Osseointegrated Implants

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Abstract

Twenty patients with microvascular fibula flap reconstruction of oromandibular defects were selected for implant-retained prosthodontic rehabilitation. A total of 71 osseointegrated implants were placed within the grafted fibulas. Four patients had immediate implant placement at the time of their reconstructive surgery, and the remaining 16 patients had implants placed secondarily. One patient received postoperative radiation therapy (5940 cGy) 6 weeks following reconstruction and immediate implant placement. No implants were placed in previously irradiated flaps. A minimum 6-month period of osseointegration was allowed prior to second stage surgery. Fiftyfour of the 71 implants were uncovered; 46 of these implants were functional, and 3 were in the process of being restored. Among the 54 implants (15 patients) that were uncovered, only 1 failed to osseointegrate, 2 implants were reburied, and 2 were removed. The follow-up period ranged from 1 to 49 months since second stage surgery. Although a number of prosthodontic designs were used, 11 of the 15 patients were restored with removable overlay prostheses. Only those implants exposed to postoperative radiation demonstrated radiographic bone loss following functional loading.

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