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Intraoral reconstruction with innervated forearm flap: a comparison of sensibility and reinnervation in innervated versus noninnervated forearm flap.

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Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery 1, School of Dentistry, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan.



To evaluate the cutaneous sensibility and sensory reinnervation in patients who underwent intraoral reconstruction with an innervated or noninnervated forearm flap.


Results of the use of innervated forearm flaps in oral reconstruction was compared with the use of noninnervated flaps. The evaluation of sensibility and reinnervation comprised clinical sensibility tests and immunohistochemical investigation of postoperative biopsy specimens against S-100 and neurofilament.


The innervated flaps (4 patients) provided earlier and qualitatively better recovery of sensation than the noninnervated flaps (9 patients). Immunohistochemical investigation revealed the existence of a larger number of regularly arranged sensory nerve fibers in the cutaneous tissue of the innervated flaps than in the noninnervated flaps. Examination with an electron microscope found the structure of these nerve fibers to be well preserved in the innervated flaps, whereas nerve fibers in the noninnervated flaps were degenerative.


These findings suggest (1) that the innervated flaps are superior to the noninnervated flaps not only for the repair of defects but also for the restoration of function and (2) that the innervated flaps contribute to the improvement of the quality of life for patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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