Local Flaps: Cheek and Lip Reconstruction

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The reconstruction of cutaneous defects of the cheek and lip is a foundational topic for facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons. Facial defects have a significant impact on patient quality of life that has been well demonstrated.


To review new findings that have an impact on the planning and understanding of local flaps for the reconstruction of cutaneous defects of the cheek and upper lip; recent research in facial soft-tissue anatomy and vascular anatomy is integrated into a discussion of local flap reconstruction.


A Medline search of scientific literature was conducted, with an emphasis on 1980 to the present. Search terms included cheek; lip; reconstruction; vascular anatomy, soft-tissue anatomy, aging face, outcomes, and perforator flap. Cadaveric studies were specifically sought for anatomic review, and comparison group outcome studies are preferentially cited over clinical case series.


Reconstruction of large medial defects of the cheek and upper lip is particularly challenging, and the V-Y subcutaneous tissue pedicle island advancement flap is valuable for repair of these defects. Outcomes analyses for local flap reconstruction are in high demand. Pedicled perforator flaps will likely see increased application for facial reconstruction in the near future.


Detailed knowledge of the soft-tissue anatomy of the cheek and lip is critical to accurate surgical planning in local flap reconstruction.

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