Postburn Neck Contracture: Principles of Reconstruction and a Treatment Algorithm

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Abstract

Background

Various techniques have been developed for postburn neck reconstruction, but a treatment algorithm is needed.

Methods

We retrospectively reviewed all patients treated for postburn neck contracture at our institution between February 2008 and December 2015. Necks were divided into one anterior subunit and two lateral subunits marked by the sternocleidomastoid muscle. Deformities were categorized into three types according to their size and location. Type I deformities involve less than one subunit, type II deformities involve at least one subunit but less than two subunits, and type III deformities affect two or more subunits. Type II deformities were further divided into type IIa deformities, which mainly involve the anterior region, and type IIb deformities, which mainly involve the lateral region.

Results

Local random pattern flaps were constructed for type I deformities. Pedicled flaps from the anterior chest and supraclavicular areas were preferred for type IIa deformities, and pedicled flaps from the back were preferred for type IIb deformities. Pedicled flaps from other areas were the second choice for type II deformities, followed by free and prefabricated flaps. For type III deformities, bipedicled flaps were usually required. At a follow-up of at least 12 months, all patients showed near-normal neck function, and aesthetic features were significantly improved.

Conclusion

The proposed classification and treatment algorithm for postburn neck reconstruction may help achieve satisfactory outcomes.

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