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Treatment of Chronic Frontal Sinus Disease with the Galeal-Frontalis Flap: A Long-Term Follow-Up

Kelly, Christopher P. M.D.; Yavuzer, Reha M.D.; Keskin, Mustafa M.D.; Jackson, Ian T. M.D., D.Sc.(Hon.)

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: April 15th, 2005 - Volume 115 - Issue 5 - p 1229-1236
doi: 10.1097/01.PRS.0000156770.90333.66
Original Articles: Pediatric/Craniofacial

Background: Management of benign chronic frontal sinus disease is difficult. Patients are frequently seen by multiple specialties for medical treatment and endonasal procedures before they seek or require definitive treatment with frontal sinus obliteration. The progression of the disease may lead to serious or life-threatening conditions such as local bone destruction, periorbital abscess, osteomyelitis, meningitis, cranial epidural abscess, or septicemia. This study presents the use of the galeal-frontalis myofascial flap as part of the treatment of this disease.

Methods: Thirty-one patients with chronic frontal sinus disease requiring obliteration were included in this study; all were approached through a coronal incision. The anterior wall of the frontal sinus was removed and the frontal sinus disease was evacuated. The sinus mucosa was completely removed, and the frontal sinus and nasofrontal duct were totally obliterated with either a unilateral flap or a bilateral galeal-frontalis flap.

Results: All patients had failed medical therapy and many had failed endonasal and endoscopic procedures. The mean follow-up was 43.6 months (range, 1 to 125 months). There were two early complications, a seroma and a hematoma. Sinus infection recurred in one patient 3 months postoperatively. The recurrent infection was treated in the same manner, using the available and viable galeal-frontalis flap to obliterate the frontal sinus, with no recurrence after 40 months.

Conclusions: The galeal-frontalis flap has been investigated by angiography and is based on the supratrochlear and supraorbital vessels. Its location and vascularity make it reliable and effective for frontal sinus obliteration. In the head and neck area and elsewhere, filling defects with vascularized tissue prevents infection. A further advantage is that any residual defects are usually well tolerated by patients, and those requesting correction can be easily accommodated. The risks and complications from using exogenous materials and from performing secondary procedures for graft harvest are avoided. Considering that most patients presented with complications from advanced disease and that after one revision no patients have had recurrence of disease, obliterative treatment with the galeal-frontalis myofascial flap should be contemplated earlier in treating patients with chronic frontal sinus disease.

Southfield, Mich.; and Ankara, Turkey

From the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Institute for Craniofacial and Reconstructive Surgery, Providence Hospital, and the Department of Plastic, Reconstructive, and Aesthetic Surgery, Gazi University.

Received for publication December 8, 2003; revised May 4, 2004.

Ian T. Jackson, M.D., D.Sc.(Hon.), Institute for Craniofacial and Reconstructive Surgery, 16001 W. Nine Mile Road, 3rd Floor, Fisher Center, Southfield, Mich. 48075,

©2005American Society of Plastic Surgeons