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J Craniomaxillofac Surg. 2000 Apr;28(2):69-73.

The free revascularized lateral upper arm flap in maxillofacial reconstruction following ablative tumour surgery.

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Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Plastic Surgery of Head and Neck, University Hospital Tübingen, Germany.


The lateral arm flap is well established in microvascular reconstructive surgery for covering small and moderate-sized defects both of the extremities and in the head and neck region. In the last 3 years 25 patients underwent a lateral upper arm flap for primary repair of tumour related defects of the tongue (n = 10), floor of the mouth (n = 7), mandible (n = 4), inner cheek (n = 2), oropharynx (n = 1) and lower lip (n = 1). Defects extended from the anterior floor of the mouth to the oral tongue in three cases and in four cases the defect reached the pharyngeal tongue. Two flaps had neurovascular anastomoses between the posterior cutaneous nerve of the arm and the lingual nerve. In all patients the donor defect was closed primarily. Twenty four lateral upper arm flaps healed uneventfully although six patients developed severe alcoholic delirium. One flap was lost on the fourth postoperative day due to venous insufficiency. There were no significant complications at the donor site. At the time of this report 16 patients were taking a normal diet while nine patients were taking pureed food. Among the advantages of this flap are anatomically reliable vascular supply, its good aesthetic quality, and position of the donor site. Furthermore the posterior radial collateral artery is a nonessential vessel of the arm. The flap is also potentially sensate. Among the disadvantages are smaller vessels for microvascular anastomoses. In conclusion, we believe that for repair of moderate-sized defects of the maxillofacial area the lateral upper arm flap can be recommended as the first choice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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