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A Prospective Analysis of Bony versus Soft-Tissue Reconstruction for Posterior Mandibular Defects

Hanasono, Matthew M. M.D.; Zevallos, Jose P. M.D.; Skoracki, Roman J. M.D.; Yu, Peirong M.D.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: May 2010 - Volume 125 - Issue 5 - p 1413-1421
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e3181d62aef

Background: Although reconstruction of anterior mandibular oncologic defects with bony free flaps is considered the standard method of treatment, the optimal reconstruction of posterior defects is controversial. The authors' goal was to compare outcomes using either a vascularized bone flap or a soft-tissue free flap for posterior mandibular reconstruction.

Methods: Data were collected prospectively on 74 patients undergoing posterior mandibular resection including the condyle.

Results: Twenty-four patients underwent vascularized bone flap reconstruction and 50 patients underwent soft-tissue free flap reconstruction. Patients undergoing vascularized bone flap reconstruction were significantly younger than those undergoing soft-tissue free flap reconstruction (47 versus 62 years, respectively; p = 0.0001) and had a lower American Society of Anesthesiologists class (2.6 versus 3.1, respectively; p = 0.001). There were no significant differences in total operative time, intensive care unit stay, or hospital stay. The complication rate was 33 percent for patients receiving vascularized bone flap reconstructions and 38 percent for patients receiving soft-tissue free flap reconstruction (p = 0.70). Mouth opening averaged 39.8 mm for patients with vascularized bone flap reconstructions and 46.4 mm for patients with soft-tissue free flap reconstructions (p = 0.09). Jaw deviation toward the resection side averaged 1.2 mm for vascularized bone flap reconstructions and 5.3 mm for soft-tissue free flap reconstructions (p = 0.02). There was no significant difference in the type of mechanical diet tolerated by either group (p = 0.83).

Conclusions: With careful selection, good reconstructive results after posterior mandibular resection can be achieved with vascularized bone flap or soft-tissue free flaps. In appropriate candidates, vascularized bone flap reconstruction may result in better postoperative occlusion.

Houston, Texas

From the Department of Plastic Surgery, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Received for publication September 14, 2009; accepted November 12, 2009.

Presented at the World Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery Meeting, in Okinawa, Japan, June 27, 2009.

Disclosure:The authors have no commercial associations or financial disclosures that might pose or create a conflict of interest with information presented in this article. No funding was received for the work presented in this article.

Matthew M. Hanasono, M.D.; Department of Plastic Surgery; The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center; 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Unit 443; Houston, Texas 77030;

©2010American Society of Plastic Surgeons