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Craniomaxillofac Trauma Reconstr. 2015 Mar;8(1):42-9. doi: 10.1055/s-0034-1384739. Epub 2014 Aug 6.

Versatility of subscapular chimeric free flaps in the secondary reconstruction of composite posttraumatic defects of the upper face.

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Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Louisiana State University School of Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana.


High energy injuries to the upper face present challenging reconstructive problems. In some cases, initial reconstructive efforts result in unfavorable outcomes that require secondary intervention. Chimeric free flaps based on the subscapular system offer the tissue components and volume needed for these complex reconstructions. This is a series of five patients who underwent secondary reconstruction of the middle and upper face following traumatic injury. Mechanism of injury, prior attempts at reconstruction, and characteristics of the tissue defects and the flaps used in their reconstruction are described. Two patients were female and three were male. Three injuries resulted from gunshot wounds, and two from motor vehicle accidents. All patients had multiple prior failed attempts at reconstruction using local/regional tissue. Defects included symptomatic oronasal or oro-orbital fistulas, enophthalmos, and forehead contour deformities. Two of the flaps used included scapular bone and latissimus muscular components, and three included scapular bone and thoracodorsal artery perforator-based skin paddle components. All free tissue transfers were successful, and no patients suffered significant complications. Chimeric free flaps based on the subscapular system offer a valuable secondary strategy for reconstruction of composite defects of the upper face when other options have been exhausted through previous efforts.


chimeric; composite defect; free flap; head and neck; subscapular

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