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J Egypt Natl Canc Inst. 2008 Mar;20(1):90-7.

Microvascular radial forearm fasciocutaneous free flap for palatomaxillary reconstruction following malignant tumor resection.

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The Department of Surgery, NCI, Cairo University.



The aim of this study is to report on the patient's quality of life and outcomes after reconstruction of palatomaxillary defects by microvascular radial forearm fasciocutaneous free flap (RFFF) and dental obturator.


During the period between 2005-2007, 10 patients who had palato maxillary defects were immediately reconstructed using RFFF to restore physiologic oronasal separation. All patients were treated for malignant tumors of hard palate or maxilla and all had preservation of orbital floor. Vascular anastomoses were done with the facial vessels in the neck. All the patients underwent a lateral thigh split-thickness skin graft for closure of the donor site. Outcome measurements included post-operative assessment of flap survival and healing, speech, swallowing and diet evaluation and quality of life. Dental rehabilitation was done 3 months postoperatively for all patients.


Flap survival was successful in all cases. In the first 2 weeks post operatively, 80% of patients had very good swallowing, speech and diet ability in the form of soft chewable foods and by the end of 6 months, all patients had very good swallowing and speech function and were able to eat all types of foods. Dental rehabilitation with obturator was easily applied and the presence of the flap did not interfere with its application. The technique improved chewing ability and cosmosis. Complications included, small oronasal fistula in 2 patients (20%) who required secondary sutures and delayed wound healing of donor site in one patient.


RFFF for soft tissue reconstruction after maxillectomy is a reliable technique that provides a definitive physiologic separation between oral and nasal cavity. This allows very early improvement of speech and swallowing without being totally dependent on obturator. Dental rehabilitation to improve chewing and cosmoses can be done easily with minimal home care. Subsequently, the quality of life is markedly improved.

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