Three salvage strategies in microvascular fibula osteocutaneous flap for mandible reconstruction with vascular compromise and establishment of an algorithm

Dicle Aksoyler, Luigi Losco, Alberto Bolletta, Alp Ercan, Shih Heng Chen, Jonathan Velazquez-Mujica, Yueh Bih Tang, Hung Chi Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Fibula osteocutaneous flap is associated with a higher rate of reexploration in mandible reconstruction due to limited space for the fixation of various tissue components on multiple segments of the fibula flap. To maintain optimal circulation to the flap and to prevent negative outcomes because of partial or total flap loss, we shared our experiences on salvaging the free fibula flap with vascular compromise in the first reexploration and we developed an algorithm. Methods: From 1992 to 2018, 12 patients between the ages of 48 to 63 (mean: 52.5) who had presented with oral squamous cell carcinoma (n = 10) followed by osteoradionecrosis of the mandible (n = 2) were explored. The operative findings were; (1) occlusions of vein (3 cases); (2) occlusions of artery (4 cases); and (3) occlusions of both artery and vein (5 cases). After correcting the kinking or evacuating the hematoma, the arterial inflow was initially reestablished by anterograde flow. If this was nonfunctional, retrograde flow from the distal end of the peroneal artery was provided. For the vein, anterograde venous drainage was reestablished. If the thrombus extended deep into the peroneal vein, regular venous return was blocked on the anterograde side, and the flap remained congested therefore retrograde venous drainage was performed regardless of the valves in the vein. However, the two ends of the peroneal artery were anastomosed to prevent thrombosis of the artery. Results: The success rate of revised cases was 75% (9/12). All failed cases had presented with both artery and vein occlusion (three cases). Pectoralis major musculocutaneous flap and anterolateral thigh flap were needed for the external surface in two cases. Skin graft was required for seven cases to restore intraoral lining. Six patients underwent dental rehabilitation with prosthetic implants. Conclusion: Immediate reexploration is mandatory to salvage the flap.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-232
Number of pages10
JournalMicrosurgery
Volume41
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 03 2021
Externally publishedYes

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