Donor Site Outcome After Oral Mucosa Harvest for Urethroplasty in Children and Adults

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We report short and long-term donor site outcomes after oral mucosa graft harvesting for urological reconstruction in a large series of patients including children, and identify possible risk factors for an untoward long-term outcome.

Materials and Methods:

A total of 78 patients were evaluated. Short-term outcomes included time to restore normal oral diet, perioral sensory defect/discomfort and jaw opening impairment occurring within 4 weeks of surgery. Long-term outcomes included donor site scarring, perioral sensory defect and jaw opening impairment occurring more than 1 year postoperatively. Long-term outcomes were assessed via a questionnaire administered to patients and on clinical examination by an oral surgeon. Outcomes were compared in children (younger than 12 years at surgery) and adults, and with regard to harvesting site, graft length, length of followup and other variables.


Two-thirds of the patients returned to a normal oral diet within 3 days postoperatively (range 1 to 8). All patients complained of perioral sensory defect/discomfort postoperatively, and 26% had jaw opening impairment. After a median followup of 7.6 years (range 1 to 13.2) perioral sensory defect was the most common complication observed (28%) in cases formally evaluated by an oral surgeon. The sensory defect was seldom perceived by the patients and never required treatment. It was statistically more common in patients undergoing surgery as adults, whereas none of the other variables proved significant.


Oral mucosa graft harvesting is safe irrespective of age. About a quarter of patients, more commonly adults, will have a long-term perioral sensory defect. However, the defect is never perceived as bothersome.

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