Modified Bilateral Neurovascular Cheek Flap: Functional Reconstruction of Extensive Lower Lip Defects

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Abstract

Background:

Reconstruction of extensive lower lip defects is challenging, and functional outcomes are difficult to achieve.

Methods:

A modified bilateral neurovascular cheek (MBNC) flap has been described. The data of patients with cancer of the lower lip treated with wide excision and reconstructed with the MBNC flap in the Plastic Surgery Unit, Srinagarind Hospital, Khon Kaen University, from 1966 to 2012 were reviewed.

Results:

Of the total of 143 patients included, 90.91% were women, and their age ranged from 32 to 100 years. All defects involved 70% or greater of the lower lip, which included oral commissure, buccal mucosa, or cheek skin and upper lip. All 20 patients who were followed up demonstrated good outcomes of intercommissural distance, interlabial distance, sulcus depth, and 2-point discrimination compared with normal lip parameters according to age group and satisfaction with treatment.

Conclusions:

Reconstruction of extensive lower lip defects with the MBNC flap provided good oral competence and functional outcomes. The flap provided adequate lip height and width, with proper position of oral commissure and vermilion reconstruction. The awareness about neurovascular anatomy of the lip and cheek and gentle dissection preserve the lip function. The flap overcomes the drawbacks of Karapandzic technique, which is microstomia, and of Bernard technique, which is a tight adynamic lower lip. It can be used in defects of more than two-thirds of the lip, extending to the cheek, commissural reconstruction, and secondary reconstruction.

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