Mandibular Microsurgical Reconstruction in Patients with Hemifacial Microsomia

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Although hemifacial microsomia is a relatively common craniofacial malformation, there is some debate regarding the ideal treatment of severe mandibular hypoplasia. Traditionally, patients with severe mandibular deficits have been treated with iliac or costochondral bone grafts followed by distraction osteogenesis, with mixed results. The authors present their experience with the use of the fibula osteocutaneous free flap for mandibular reconstruction in severe hemifacial microsomia patients.


From 1999 to 2006, 10 patients aged 3 to 10 years (mean, 7.2 years) underwent 10 free flap reconstructions. Of the 10 patients, six were girls and four were boys. Data were collected retrospectively from the patients’ records, photographs, and radiographs. The authors report the surgical technique used, complications, and long-term outcome.


Nine of 10 flaps were successful, for a flap survival rate of 90 percent. Donor bone length was 5 to 10 cm, with a mean of 6.3 cm. Skin paddles ranged from 8 to 36 cm2, with a mean size of 18.7 cm2. Mean operation time was 412 minutes and mean follow-up was 45.4 months (range, 12 to 94 months). Two patients underwent successful distraction osteogenesis subsequent to their free flap mandible reconstruction. All patients demonstrated stable bony union of the free flap by physical and radiographic examination. One major complication (a failed free flap) and two minor complications were observed.


The free flap is safe and effective, and should be considered as a first choice in mandibular reconstruction in severe cases of hemifacial microsomia where distraction osteogenesis is not possible.

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