Reconstruction of Composite Through-and-Through Mandibular Defects with a Double-Skin Paddle Fibular Osteocutaneous Flap


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Abstract

Microsurgical reconstruction of composite through-and-through defects of the oral cavity involving mucosa, bone, and external skin has often required two free flaps or double-skin paddle scapular or radial forearm flaps for successful functional and aesthetic outcomes. A safe, reliable technique using a double-skin paddle fibular osteocutaneous flap to restore the intraoral lining, mandibular bone, and external skin is described. A large elliptical or rectangular skin paddle is designed 90 degrees to the longitudinal axis of the fibula, over the junction of the middle and distal thirds of the lower leg, based only on the posterolateral septocutaneous perforators. This skin flap can be draped anteriorly and posteriorly over the fibular bone to reconstruct both the intraoral defect and the external skin defect. The area between the two skin islands of the intraoral flap and the external flap is deepithelialized and left as a dermal bridge between the two skin islands, as opposed to the creation of two separate vertical skin paddles, each based on a septocutaneous perforator. The transverse dimension of the flap can be as great as 14 cm, extending to within 1 to 2 cm of the tibial crest anteriorly and as far as the midline posteriorly, and with a length of up to 26 cm, this flap should be more than sufficient for reconstruction of most through-and-through defects. This technique has allowed the successful reconstruction of large composite defects, with missing intraoral lining, mandibular bone, and external skin, for 16 patients, with 100 percent survival of both skin islands in all cases and without the development of any orocutaneous fistulae.

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