Long-Term Follow-Up of Flap Prefabrication in Facial Reconstruction

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Abstract

Background

Flap prefabrication is to turn a random flap into an axial flap by transferring a vascular pedicle.

Methods

In the past 13 years, we have prefabricated 20 flaps in 20 patients by the superficial temporal artery and its concomitant veins. Typically, a 50- to 800-mL tissue expander was implanted in the donor site. After flap maturation, the prefabricated flap was raised and transferred locally to cover the large defect on the face. All the cases were followed up regularly.

Results

The patients' age were between 3 and 27 years, the size of the flaps were between 3.5 × 5.5 cm2 and 13 × 15 cm2, the superficial temporal artery length was between 10 and 15 cm. All flaps were transferred successfully: 10 of the flaps had venous congestion, partial epidermis exfoliation and flap necrosis occurred in 4 flaps. All cases were followed up for at least 1 year, the longest follow-up period was 9 years. Long-term follow-up results showed the prefabricated flap survived in good condition and had a satisfactory outcome.

Conclusions

Because flap prefabrication is practical, and long-term follow-ups have proved its preferable characters and stability, it is a fine method for large area facial reconstructions.

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