The purpose of this study was to present the outcome and discuss the feasibility of rib composite flap with intercostal nerve and internal thoracic vessels for reconstructing mandibular defect.Methods:
Rib composite flaps have been used in 82 patients for reconstructing benign tumor-caused large mandibular defects: 66 of the 82 patients were reconstructed using rib composite flap with intercostal nerve and internal thoracic vessels, whereas the other 16 patients were reconstructed using rib composite flap with internal thoracic vessels, without intercostal nerve. After operation, clinical observation, imageological examination, and sensory detection were used to evaluate the effect of reconstruction.Results:
All rib composite flaps with intercostal nerve and internal thoracic vessels were successfully harvested and transplanted. Both immediate and long-term examination showed good appearance reconstruction. All followed-up patients conveyed good satisfaction degree with function and appearance reconstruction. Postoperative panoramic x-ray examination showed new bone formation between the transplanted rib and mandibular stump. Good recoveries of mandibular nerve sensory were observed when followed up after reconstruction surgery.Conclusions:
Rib composite flap with intercostal nerve and internal thoracic vessels could be a promising method for reconstruction of mandibular defects.