Guidelines for pediatric mandibular reconstruction (PMR) are not well-established. One must consider the growing craniofacial skeleton, mixed dentition, long-term dental occlusion, need for secondary reconstruction, and speech development. The traditional guideline (bone defect > 5 cm) for use of vascularized bone grafts (VBG) is not applicable given the variation of pediatric mandibular size and growth. We seek to propose a novel algorithm for PMR.
Materials and Methods:
An Institutional Review Board approved retrospective review of patients who underwent PMR for tumor resections between 2005 and 2019 evaluated patients’ demographics, complications, resection index (RI) (resection length to mandibular length), and surgical outcomes. Outcomes based on RI were analyzed to establish guidelines for VBG utilization.
Twenty-four patients underwent PMR at a mean age of 9.1 years (range: 1 – 18). The mandibular defect (mean± standard deviation) fornon-VBG (n= 18) and VBG (n= 6) was 6.6 ± 3.0 cm and 12.8 ± 4.3 cm, respectively. The VBG group had fewer return trips to the operating room (P= 0.028) and fewer major complications (P = 0.028). When non-VBG with RI > 32% were compared to <32%, there was statistically less returns to the operating room for complications and a lower rate of early (< 30 days) major complications.
Our algorithm proposes an RI cutoff of 32% for VBG use for PMR. Patients with a sizable soft tissue defect, previous chemotherapy and/or radiation, planned adjuvant chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy, or a history of failed non-VBG should undergo reconstruction using VBG.