Segmental mandibular reconstruction in patients with poor lower extremity perfusion, vessel-depleted necks and/or profound medical frailty

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Current opinion in otolaryngology & head and neck surgery


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Options for segmental mandibular reconstruction in patients poorly suited to undergo fibula free flap (FFF).

RECENT FINDINGS: Although FFF is the current 'gold standard' for segmental mandibular reconstruction, other reconstructive options must be considered when FFF is contraindicated or disfavoured and/or patient frailty precludes a lengthy anaesthetic. In addition to various nonvascularized and soft tissue only reconstructions, excellent osseous free flap alternatives for functional segmental mandibular reconstruction may be employed. The subscapular system free flaps (SSSFF) may be ideal in frail and/or elderly patients, as SSSFF allows for early mobility and does not alter gait. In extensive and/or symphyseal defects, functional mandibular reconstruction in lieu of a free flap is extremely limited. Pedicled segmental mandibular reconstructions remain reasonable options, but limited contemporary literature highlights unpredictable bone graft perfusion and poor long-term functional outcomes.

SUMMARY: There are several excellent free flap alternatives to FFF in segmental mandibular reconstruction, assuming adequate cervical recipient vessels are present. On the basis of the current literature, the optimal mandibular reconstruction for the medically frail, elderly and/or patients with extreme vessel-depleted necks is limited and debatable. In qualifying (i.e. limited, lateral) defects, soft tissue only reconstructions should be strongly considered when osseous free flaps are unavailable.

Medical Subject Headings

Aged; Bone Transplantation; Frailty; Free Tissue Flaps; Humans; Lower Extremity; Mandible; Mandibular Neoplasms; Mandibular Reconstruction; Perfusion; Reconstructive Surgical Procedures; Retrospective Studies

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