Despite technical advances over the past 3 decades, subtotal, total, and extended total maxillectomy defects remain challenging reconstructive problems. In particular, postoncologic resection of the maxilla results in complex 3-dimensional defects of the midface, which cause severe functional and esthetic deformities. Such defects generally require composite tissue flaps for reconstruction. Rebuilding the palate and maxilla is especially challenging because it requires reconstitution of the facial buttresses, occlusion, replacement of bony hard palate, and the thin intraoral and intranasal lining which normally constitute the soft palate. Various methods of reconstruction have been applied to this area in search of an ideal soft tissue-bone flap to restore the bony framework of the maxilla and palate while providing an internal lining. Osteocutaneous and osteomuscular flaps such originating from the scapular, iliac, peroneal, and radial vascular systems have been attempted with good success.
We devised an osteocutaneous flap based on the scapular vascular system, which provided bone and soft tissue to successfully reconstruct the palate and maxilla in 2 patients. The skin paddle received its blood supply from the major perforating vessels of the thoracodorsal artery, and the scapular bone was nourished by the angular vessels. Although free tissue transfer using thoracodorsal perforator flaps has been described, this flap has not been previously reported in the literature as an osteocutaneous tissue transfer. With the use of rigid fixation, excellent results have been obtained with this technique for palatal and maxillary reconstruction.
Two complex maxillopalatal defects were successfully reconstructed with perforator-based osteocutaneous flaps based on the thoracodorsal artery.
From the Department of Surgery, Section of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA.
Received March 3, 2004 and accepted for publication, after revision, June 10, 2004.
Reprints: Aldo Benjamin Guerra, MD, Esthetic Surgical Associates, 3939 Houma Blvd., Suite 216, Metairie, LA 70006. E-mail: Aldissimo1@hotmail.com