Reconstruction of Extensive Orbital Exenteration Defects Using an Anterolateral Thigh/Vastus Lateralis Chimeric Flap

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Neglected malignant tumors within the orbital region can invade the eyeball, extraocular muscles, and bone substance surrounding the eye. Such patients require orbital exenteration, which may involve extraocular skeletal structures (even exposing paranasal sinuses), resulting in 3-dimensional defects requiring reconstruction. This study presents our experience with anterolateral thigh vastus lateralis (ALT/VL) chimeric free flaps for the reconstruction of extensive orbital exenteration defects involving various paranasal sinuses.

Between 2012 and 2016, 4 patients with extensive 3-dimensional orbital defects with sinus involvement were treated using the ALT/VL chimeric flap. The ALT component (117–170 cm2) was used to resurface the cutaneous defect while the VL component (105–243 cm3) was used to obliterate the cavitary defect. The flaps were all based on the common descending pedicle, and branches to separate components were individually dissected. Recipient vessels were in the neck region, to which the donor pedicles were passed through a tunnel for anastomosis.

All cavitary and surface defects were simultaneously reconstructed via the ALT/VL chimeric flap. Within an average of 17 months, no complications associated with flap surgery were observed. One patient received postoperative adjuvant radiotherapy with no complications. With its separate components supplied by a common vascular pedicle, the ALT/VL chimeric free flap allows the surgeon to conveniently reconstruct separate spatial and volumetric defects resulting from extensive orbital exenteration.

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