Use of Social Media and an Online Survey to Discuss Complex Reconstructive Surgery: A Case of Upper Lip Reconstruction with 402 Responses from International Microsurgeons

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Abstract

Background

The best reconstructive strategy for upper lip defects is still in debate. The purpose of this study was to analyze the decisions made by international microsurgeons, who were participated through online questionnaire, distributed by email and social media network.

Materials and Methods

A case of a two-thirds upper lip oncologic defect was presented via an online questionnaire and 402 microsurgeons replied their treatment options. The data were then analyzed according to the geographic area, microsurgical fellowship, seniority, and subspecialty. All the data were analyzed using SPSS 22.

Results

A total of 27.7% of microsurgeons chose a free flap, while 72.3% chose a local/pedicle flap as their preferred method for reconstruction. The most common choice of free and local/pedicle flaps was radial forearm (73.6%) and Abbé (36.2%), respectively. The microsurgeons in Europe preferred local/pedicle flaps than free flap when compared with Middle/South America, Asia-Pacific, Africa and South Asia/Middle East (11.6% versus 50%, 43.4%, 29.3% and 27.3%, respectively, multivariant p < 0.05). The microsurgeons with microsurgical fellowships preferred to use free flaps (32.9% versus 17.5%, multivariant p = 0.021). There was no difference for the seniority and specialty of the microsurgeons.

Conclusions

The online questionnaire is valuable and feasible for obtaining experts' opinions. This study provides a current global overview of surgical preferences for this common complicated clinical scenario.

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