The authors present the reconstructive technique for complex cheek defects using the composite cervicofacial flap and study the possibilities, advantages, disadvantages, and results that can be expected. The design follows the classic outline of Mustarde's flap. The skin is undermined for 2 cm anterior to the ear, then after incision of the superficial musculoaponeurotic system (SMAS), undermining is continued below the plane of the SMAS, level with the facial nerve branches. It is continued forward to the facial vessels, which give rise to branches that ensure the blood supply of this composite flap and contribute to its high reliability. In the cervical region, undermining is done beneath the platysma, which is transected transversely in the lower cervical region to allow good upward mobility and satisfactory transposition of the flap. The flap is adapted to the defect and the medial suture line is placed as near as possible to the medial limit of the cheek aesthetic unit. The authors carried out a retrospective study of 7 patients with complex facial reconstruction after excision of malignant lesions. The defects measured from 4 x 4 cm to 9 x 7 cm. In 4 patients excision included the periosteum, and in 1 patient excision involved the entire thickness and removed the entire anterior half of the cheek. In 4 patients reconstruction involved the cheek and eyelid. In spite of the advanced age of the patients (88, 69, 91, 67, 70, 82, and 59 years), there was no distal edge necrosis. The only complication was a single case of facial paresis, which resolved spontaneously. The results were considered very good in all 7 patients. The authors conclude that the composite flap increases the possibilities of the cervicofacial flap. It is more mobile, more reliable, thicker, and more adaptable. It can be used in complex cheek defects that involve the periosteum, or even in full-thickness defects. The quality of the results obtained using this flap represents a considerable advance in facial reconstruction.
Delay E, Lucas R, Jorquera F, Payement G, Foyatier J-L. Composite cervicofacial flap for reconstruction of complex cheek defects. Ann Plast Surg 1999;43:347-353