Hemifacial atrophy (Parry-Romberg syndrome) is an enigmatic craniofacial disorder characterized by progressive facial atrophy. Early age at onset is associated with significant skeletal involvement and jaw abnormalities. Standard reconstructive dogma dictates that the disease should “burn out,” with at least 2 years of no disease progression, before pursuing reconstructive intervention. The purpose of this article is to present the senior author’s (J.W.S.) experience treating preadolescent children with free soft-tissue transfer for reconstruction of progressing hemifacial atrophy, and to review surgical techniques in this patient population.
Pediatric free tissue transfer cases performed by the senior author were reviewed. Free tissue transfer using a circumflex scapular adipofasciocutaneous flap was performed to treat deformities arising from hemifacial atrophy.
Thirty-six patients aged 3 to 6 years underwent free tissue transfer in the presence of progressing, active disease. Follow-up ranged from 7 months to 25 years. There were no cases of flap loss. In all patients, the disease process seemed to be altered, with no symptoms recurring to date.
The authors believe that early microsurgical correction of hemifacial atrophy in children as young as 3 years is reliable and effective. The authors theorize that the interposition of vascularized, healthy tissue may alter or even halt the progression of disease, and may also prevent the skeletal hypoplasia classically seen in older patients. Further study incorporating autologous fat grafting as a control procedure may provide additional insight into this challenging disease process.
CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: