The objective of this investigation was to evaluate the indications for and the functional and cosmetic results of mandible reconstruction using free vascularized fibular flaps. It was also designed to assess the patients’ quality of life, daily activities, and self-esteem, with special emphasis on patient satisfaction. We conducted a retrospective chart review of all patients who underwent osseus or osteocutaneous free flap reconstruction of the mandible over a 10-year period (1992–2002). Those in whom a vascularized fibular flap was used were included in the study and invited for a follow-up comprehensive physical examination and x-ray evaluation. A questionnaire was also administered to evaluate patient satisfaction. Twenty-six patients were included in the study. Fourteen patients died after an average of 2 years and 9 months postoperatively due to their prognosis despite surgical intervention and adjuvant therapy. Of the remaining 12 patients, 6 appeared for the follow-up evaluation, 2 were unavailable for follow-up, and 4 denied participating. Of these 6 patients, all experienced a decrease in pain and were satisfied with their results. At the time of the latest follow-up, they experienced some difficulties swallowing, and in 3 patients, their articulation was impaired. All 6 patients would undergo the procedure again. Reconstruction of the mandible using a vascularized fibular graft produces satisfactory functional and cosmetic results. In benign lesions, the procedure is highly indicated. However, in the case of malignancy, most patients do not survive their primary tumor. Given the patients limited life expectancy, the improvement in their quality of life as a result of the improved appearance and function of the reconstructed mandible needs to be weighed against the potential morbidity of the operative intervention on an individual basis.
European Journal of Plastic Surgery – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 1, 2007
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