After reading this article, the participant should be able to: 1. Understand the rationale and value of principles of facial reconstruction in the complex patient. 2. Understand the importance of diagnosis and planning. 3. Appreciate the value of surgical staging. 4. Modify tissues to the requirements of the defect. 5. Know how to treat ischemic cover and lining complications. 6. Learn methods of late revision.
It is easy to be overwhelmed by a complex defect. What to do? How? When? In what order? Success is determined by careful planning, guided by principles. The aesthetic and anatomical deficiencies must be identified. Then, what is absent, both visually and anatomically, and what is missing must be determined. What are the priorities? What is the best timing for each stage? What are the available options and what will be the likely result? Should I choose another option? How can the surgeon maintain vascularity, transfer tissue, and improve tissue quality and contour? What are potential backup salvage maneuvers? Sound surgical principles based on the contributions of Gillies and Millard provide strategic instructions that help the surgeon “make sense” of a complex problem. They provide coordinated rules that clarify the diagnosis, planning, timing, and stages of repair. These should be combined with a regional unit approach to facial repair that provides tactical rules to establish the skin quality, border outline, and three-dimensional shape of the normal face.