Microvascular Repair of Heminasal, Subtotal, and Total Nasal Defects with a Folded Radial Forearm Flap and a Full-Thickness Forehead Flap

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The site, size, and depth of tissue loss, irradiation, or composite injury to adjacent cheek and lip may make local tissues inadequate or unavailable for the repair of major nasal defects.


In 13 patients, a single, folded, horizontal radial forearm flap was used to line the vault and columella, with an incontinuity fasciocutaneous extension to resurface the nasal floor, with or without primary dorsal support. Later, excess external forearm skin was turned over to adjust the nostril margin and alar base positions. Delayed primary cartilage grafts completed subunit support. A three-stage full-thickness forehead flap provided covering skin. Three-dimensional contouring of the midlayer framework was performed over the entire nasal surface, during an intermediate operation, before pedicle division.


Good to excellent aesthetic and functional results were obtained in total and subtotal defects in five operations over 8 months, including a late revision. Partial necrosis of the folded columellar lining (n = 2) and dehiscence of unilateral alar lining (n = 1) were salvaged at forehead flap transfer by hinging over excess external forearm skin (n = 2) or by folding the extension of the forehead flap for columellar lining (n = 1). Indolent cartilage infection necessitated débridement (n = 4) and partial support replacement (n = 3). No free flaps were lost or required to salvage a complication.


The approach is reliable, efficient, and applicable to varied defects and has the ability to correct design errors and complications before pedicle division. An unscarred lining sleeve, defined three-dimensional contour, and thin conforming skin cover are restored.

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