Between January of 1998 and May of 2002, 25 prefabricated osseous free flaps (23 fibula and two iliac crest flaps) were transferred in 24 patients to repair maxillary (six flaps) or mandibular (eight flaps) defects after tumor resection, severe maxillary (four flaps) or mandibular (one flap) atrophy (Cawood VI), maxillary (one flap) or mandibular (three flaps) defects after gunshot injury, and maxillary (two flaps) defects after traffic accidents. Prefabrication included insertion of dental implants, positioned with a drilling template in a preplanned position, and split-thickness grafting. Drilling template construction was based on the prosthetic planning. The template determined the position of the implants and the site and angulation of osteotomies, if necessary. The mean delay between prefabrication and flap transfer was 6 weeks (range, 4 to 8 weeks). While the flap was harvested, a bar construction with overdentures was mounted onto the implants. The overdentures were used as an occlusal key for exact three-dimensional positioning of the graft within the defect. The bar construction also helped to stabilize the horseshoe shape of the graft. The follow-up period ranged from 2 months to 4 years (mean, 21 months), during which time two total and three partial flap losses occurred. One total loss was due to thrombosis of the flap veins during the delay period, whereas the other total loss was caused by spasm of the peroneal artery. Two partial losses were due to oversegmentation of the flaps with necrosis of the distal fragment, whereas one partial loss was caused by disruption of the vessel from the distal part. Of the 90 implants that were inserted into the prefabricated flaps during the study period, 10 were lost in conjunction with flap failure; of the remaining 80 implants, four were lost during the observation period, for a success rate of 95 percent. Flap prefabrication based on prosthetic planning offers a powerful tool for various reconstructive problems in the maxillofacial area. Although it involves a two-stage procedure, the time for complete rehabilitation is shorter than with conventional procedures.
Aarau and Basel, Switzerland; and Giessen, Germany
From the Craniofacial Centre Hirlsanden; the Department of Reconstructive Surgery, Clinic for Maxillofacial Surgery, and Laboratory for Anaplastology and Craniofacial Prosthetics, University Hospital Basel; and the Department for Maxillofacial Surgery, Justus-Leibig University Giessen.
Received for publication June 10, 2002;
revised November 1, 2002.
Dennis Rohner, M.D., D.D.S.
Cranio-Facial-Center (cfc) Hirslanden
CH-5000 Aarau, Switzerland