Classification of mandible defects and algorithm for microvascular reconstruction

Benjamin D. Schultz, Michael Sosin, Arthur Nam, Raja Mohan, Peter Zhang, Saami Khalifian, Neil Vranis, Paul N. Manson, Branko Bojovic, Eduardo D. Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Composite mandibular tissue loss results in significant functional impairment and cosmetic deformity. This study classifies patterns of mandibular composite tissue loss and describes a microvascular treatment algorithm. Methods: A retrospective review of microvascular composite mandibular reconstruction from July of 2005 to April of 2013 by the senior surgeon at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center and at The Johns Hopkins Hospital yielded 24 patients with a mean follow-up of 17.9 months. Causes of composite mandibular defects included tumors, osteoradionecrosis, trauma, infection, and congenital deformity. Patients with composite tissue loss were classified according to missing subunits. Results: A treatment algorithm based on composite mandibular defects and microvascular reconstruction was developed and used to treat 24 patients. A type 1 defect is a unilateral dentoalveolar defect not crossing the midline and not extending into the angle of the mandible. A type 2 defect is a unilateral defect extending beyond the angle. A type 3 defect is a bilateral defect not involving the angles. A type 4 defect is a bilateral defect with extension into at least one angle. Type 2 defects were the predominant group. Patients had microvascular reconstruction using either fibula flaps (n = 19) or iliac crest flaps (n = 5). Complications included infection, partial necrosis, plate fracture, dehiscence, and microvascular thrombosis. Conclusion: This novel classification system and treatment algorithm allows for a consistent and reliable method of addressing composite mandibular defects and focuses on recipient vasculature and donor free flap characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)743e-754e
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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