The reconstruction of maxillectomy defects is a complex problem encountered in plastic surgery. Defects can range in size and complexity from small defects requiring only soft tissue to complete maxillectomies requiring large tissue bulk, bone, and one or more skin paddles. The most difficult defects involve the skull base and orbit. The reconstructive surgeon is faced with the challenge of isolating the nasopharynx from the dura and globe while simultaneously restoring the bony framework of the maxilla and orbit to support the soft tissue of the cheek. The authors present a series of six reconstructions using a rectus abdominis muscle flap with associated vascularized rib for reconstruction of complex maxillectomy defects. This flap provides large soft-tissue bulk as well as bony support and a long vascular pedicle. A skin island can be taken with the flap, and the donor-site morbidity is comparable to that seen with a vertical rectus abdominis myocutaneous flap. Six flaps were used in five patients over a 20-month period. All patients had stable support of the orbit at follow-up with adequate soft-tissue coverage, and there were no incidences of visual changes.
From the Division of Plastic Surgery and Department of Otolaryngology, Georgetown University Hospital.
Steven Paul Davison, M.D., D.D.S.
Division of Plastic Surgery, Georgetown University Hospital, 1st floor PHC Building, 3800 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, D.C. 20007, firstname.lastname@example.org
Received for publication March 25, 2003; revised July 22, 2003.
Presented at the Aesthetic Reconstruction in Adult and Children meeting, in Nashville, Tennessee, February of 2002.