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Nasal Reconstruction—Beyond Aesthetic Subunits: A 15-Year Review of 1334 Cases

Rohrich, Rod J. M.D.; Griffin, John R. M.D.; Ansari, Mona M.D.; Beran, Samuel J. M.D.; Potter, Jason K. D.D.S., M.D.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: November 2004 - Volume 114 - Issue 6 - p 1405-1416
doi: 10.1097/01.PRS.0000138596.57393.05

A retrospective analysis was performed on 1334 patients who underwent nasal reconstruction between 1986 and 2001. The senior author performed all reconstructions in this series after Mohs’ histographic excisions. Only secondary reconstructions were performed without a preceding Mohs’ excision. Methods of reconstruction, number of operations per patient, locations of defects, and complications were recorded. Using preoperative and postoperative photographs, aesthetic results were reviewed. Basal cell carcinoma was the most common lesion, followed by squamous cancer and melanoma. The average age of the patients was 51 years. Cancers most commonly arose on the dorsum, ala, and tip. Of 1334 cases, a 1.9 percent recurrence rate was documented. The average time between surgery and clinical recognition of recurrence was 39 months. All recurrent lesions were reexcised by the Mohs’ technique. Eighty-one percent of reconstructions were completed in three or fewer stages. Seventy-five percent of reconstructions were completed in two stages. Primary dermabrasion or primary laserbrasion using carbon dioxide or erbium lasers was used in nearly every case. Early secondary dermabrasion or laserbrasion was used in a few cases where indicated. A 1.2 percent revision rate was noted (16 patients). Thirteen partial flap necroses required revision. Three patients experienced dehiscence at the donor site of paramedian forehead flaps. A preferred philosophy toward nasal reconstruction is described. The goal is to achieve optimal cosmetic and functional results while minimizing stages and resection of healthy tissue. Six core principles are advocated that guide efficient and successful nasal reconstruction: (1) maximal conservation of native tissue is advised; (2) reconstruction of the defect, not the subunit, is advised; (3) complementary ablative procedures, such as primary dermabrasion, enhance the final result and decrease the number of revisionary procedures; (4) primary defatting also decreases the number of revisionary procedures; (5) when possible, the use of axial pattern flaps is preferred; and (6) good contour is the aesthetic endpoint.

Dallas, Texas

From the Department of Plastic Surgery, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Received for publication July 7, 2003; revised November 17, 2003.

Rod J. Rohrich, M.D., Department of Plastic Surgery, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Boulevard, HX1.636, Dallas, Texas, 75390-8820,

©2004American Society of Plastic Surgeons