Microvascular free tissue transfer for treatment of osteoradionecrosis of the maxilla

O. Koray Coskunfirat*, Fu Chan Wei, Wei Chao Huang, Ming Huei Cheng, Wen Guei Yang, Yang Ming Chang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

38 Scopus citations


Head and neck tumors often require radiotherapy as part of the treatment protocol. Although it improves the survival rate in cancer patients, it may cause osteoradionecrosis, especially in the mandible and maxilla. Twelve patients with osteoradionecrosis of the maxilla were treated with microsurgical free tissue transplantations between April of 1996 and August of 2002. There were 10 male and two female patients, with a mean age of 60.2 years. The mean radiotherapy dose was 6674 cGy. The radiation dose could not be traced in three patients because radiotherapy was performed elsewhere. Radical sequestrectomy, soft-tissue débridement, and pathologic proof of no tumor recurrence were performed before microsurgical reconstruction. Free flaps used included the following: anterolateral thigh (n = 7), radial forearm (n = 2), rectus femoris musculocutaneous (n = 2), and supracondylar chimeric (n = 1) flaps. All flaps survived completely and reconstruction succeeded. During a mean 25-month follow-up period, ectropion, plate exposure, and mild infection were encountered in three patients and treated successfully. Radical débridement and obliteration of dead space with well-vascularized tissue are essential for successful treatment of maxillary osteoradionecrosis. The anterolateral thigh flap is most versatile for almost all types of soft-tissue defect reconstruction in the head and neck region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-60
Number of pages7
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 01 2005


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