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The buccinator flap: a review of current clinical applications

Szeto, Christopher; Yoo, John; Busato, Gian-Marco; Franklin, Jason; Fung, Kevin; Nichols, Anthony

Current Opinion in Otolaryngology & Head and Neck Surgery: August 2011 - Volume 19 - Issue 4 - p 257–262
doi: 10.1097/MOO.0b013e328347f861
Head and neck reconstruction: Edited by Danny J. Enepekides

Purpose of review This article reviews the buccinator flap, its relevant surgical anatomy, surgical technique, and applications in head and neck reconstruction.

Recent findings Reconstruction of defects after extirpation of head and neck neoplasms can be challenging and complex. Various reconstructive techniques, including skin grafts, regional flaps, and free tissue transfer, can be employed in restoration of form and function after ablative surgery. Although a wide array of reconstructive options is available, the technique employed will largely depend on the surgeon preference and experience. Commonly used pedicled flaps and free tissue transfer techniques can share several disadvantages, including prolonged operative time, poor cosmesis, donor site morbidity, functional limitations, and excessive tissue bulk for intraoral reconstruction. The ideal reconstructive method would adhere to the plastic surgery principle of replacement of ‘like with like’. The ease of dissection and useful application makes the buccinator flap an excellent additional reconstructive option for the head and neck surgeon.

Summary The buccinator myomucosal flap is a versatile and dependable flap for head and neck reconstruction. Its minimal donor site morbidity, pliability, ease of elevation, and flexible usage while offering optimal functional and cosmetic results make it a viable option for select defects.

Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Victoria Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada

Correspondence to Anthony Nichols, MD, FRSC(C), Assistant Professor, Head and Neck, Oncology – Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Victoria Hospital, 800 Commissioners Road East, Room B3 431A, London, ON N6A 5W9, Canada Tel: +1 519 685 8599; e-mail:

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.