Unit Advancement Flap for Lower Lip Reconstruction

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Lower lip reconstruction requires consideration of esthetic and functional outcome in selecting a surgical procedure, and reconstruction with local tissue is useful. The authors reconstructed full-thickness defects with a unit advancement flap.


Reconstruction was performed using this method in 4 patients with lower lip squamous cell carcinoma in whom tumor resection with preservation of the mouth angle was possible. The lower lip resection width was 30 to 45 mm, accounting for 50% to 68% of the entire width of the lower lip. The flap was prepared by lateral extension from above the mental unit and matched with the potential wrinkle line of the lower lip in order to design a unit morphology surrounded by the anterior margin of the depressor labii inferioris muscle. It was elevated as a full-thickness flap composed of the orbicularis oris muscle, skin, and mucosa of the residual lower lip from the bilateral sides, and advanced to the defect. Flap transfer was adjusted by small triangular resection of the skin on the lateral side of the mental unit.


The postoperative scar was inconspicuous in all patients and there was no impairment of the mouth opening–closing or articulation functions.


This was a relatively simple surgical procedure. A blood supply of the flap was stable, and continuity of the orbicularis oris muscle was reconstructed by transferred the residual lower lip advancement flap from the bilateral sides. The postoperative mouth opening–closing function was sufficient, and dentures could be placed from an early phase in elderly patients. The postoperative scar was consistent with the lip unit morphology, being esthetically superior. This procedure may be applicable for reconstruction of defects approximately 1/3 to 2/3 the width of the lower lip where the mouth angle is preserved.

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