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J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2013 Oct;71(10):1800-8. doi: 10.1016/j.joms.2013.03.018. Epub 2013 May 3.

Multiple-parameter evaluation demonstrates low donor-site morbidity after submental flap harvesting.

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Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Tri-Service General Hospital, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan. Electronic address:



The objective of this study was to implement a scoring system to analyze the authors' experience of donor-site morbidity after harvesting a submental flap for the reconstruction of surgical defects at the head and neck region after oncologic resection.


A retrospective case series study was conducted of patients who underwent reconstruction with a submental flap at the Tri-Service General Hospital (Taipei, Taiwan) from 2008 through 2012. Five parameters representing donor-site morbidity (whistling, smiling, neck extension, beard change, and esthetic outcome) were evaluated with a scoring system developed by a blinded panel of 2 clinicians and the patients. Scores were analyzed and compared between patient subgroups.


Twenty-two patients (20 men and 2 women; mean age, 56 yr) underwent reconstruction with a submental flap after head and neck tumor ablation. Primary lesion sites included the oral cavity (13 patients), pharynx (6 patients), larynx (1 patient), neck (1 patient), and sinus (1 patient). The means of all 5 parameters evaluated were higher than 8 on a scale of 0 to 9 (whistling, 8.7; smiling, 8.7; beard change, 8.9; neck extension, 8.2; esthetic outcome, 8.2), showing that submental flap harvesting led to low donor-site morbidity.


Donor-site morbidity after submental flap harvesting was evaluated with a scoring system measuring 5 parameters, namely whistling, smiling, beard change, neck extension, and esthetic outcome. In general, donor-site morbidity was very low. This implemented system and these findings will be helpful in future reconstructive surgical planning and management.

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