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Laryngoscope. 2003 Jun;113(6):946-51.

Palatal reconstruction with the palatal island flap.

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Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center for Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.



The management of palatal defects resulting from the extirpation of benign and malignant lesions uses a variety of methods, with the optimal techniques allowing maximal postoperative function with minimal morbidity. The palatal island flap is an effective, reliable technique for reconstructing postablative oral cavity defects.


All patients who underwent palatal resections for benign or malignant lesions at a tertiary care, referral-based head and neck cancer center since 1995 were eligible. Ten patients were identified whose surgical defects were reconstructed with palatal island flaps. The cases were reviewed for the symptomatology, tumor features, defect size, perioperative and postoperative management, complications, and impact on palatal function.


Ten patients ranging in age from 18 to 81 years underwent palatal island mucoperiosteal flaps after resection of a variety of benign and malignant tumors, most arising from minor salivary glands. The defects ranged in size from 5 to 15 cm2, with extension into the floor of the nose in four cases and to the skull base in two. Nine patients were discharged on a regimen of oral diet, and no patient manifested permanent velopharyngeal insufficiency, speech impairment, or airway compromise. Follow-up ranged from 3 months to 6 years, with an average follow-up of 18.5 months. Delayed donor site re-epithelialization required debridement in one case, and two patients required obturation of small oronasal fistulae.


The palatal island mucoperiosteal flap provides an effective means of reconstructing hard and soft palate defects with few complications and low morbidity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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