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Arch Facial Plast Surg. 1999 Apr-Jun;1(2):97-100.

Nasal reconstruction using the inferior turbinate mucosal flap.

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  • 1Division of Otolaryngology, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Wash., USA.


Reconstruction of nasal defects can be a difficult task if large amounts of nasal mucosa are missing. We have found the inferior turbinate mucosal flap to be a reliable and effective flap in a series of 16 patients undergoing nasal reconstruction or repair of septal perforations. Most of these patients had insufficient mucosa to use traditional flaps harvested from the nasal floor or the lateral nasal wall. Eight patients underwent reconstruction of septal perforations, 9 patients underwent nasal reconstruction of large nasal defects after tumor extirpation, and 1 patient underwent closure of a palatal fistula. Six of the septal perforations were closed completely and 3 were reduced in size by 50%. All 11 turbinate flaps used for nasal reconstruction (2 patients had bilateral flaps) survived. Two flaps underwent mild superficial epidermolysis without flap necrosis or exposure of overlying cartilage grafts. The turbinate flap is based anteriorly and provides large amounts of well-vascularized mucosa. The turbinate is rotated anteriorly and bivalved and the conchal bone is removed to increase the dimensions of the flap. The flap is sometimes staged to allow transfer of mucosa to distant sites, such as the septum, the nasal ala, and the nasal wall. An anatomical dissection of 10 turbinate flaps on 5 fresh cadaver specimens demonstrated an average flap size of 4.97 cm2. The average length of the flap was 2.83 cm, which is sufficient length to reach the nasal dorsum. A description of the surgical technique and the vascular supply of this flap will be discussed.

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