Computer-assisted versus conventional free fibula flap technique for craniofacial reconstruction: An outcomes comparison

Mitchel Seruya, Mark Fisher, Eduardo D. Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND:: There has been rising interest in computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing for preoperative planning and execution of osseous free flap reconstruction. The purpose of this study was to compare outcomes between computer-assisted and conventional fibula free flap techniques for craniofacial reconstruction. METHODS:: A two-center, retrospective review was carried out on patients who underwent fibula free flap surgery for craniofacial reconstruction from 2003 to 2012. Patients were categorized by the type of reconstructive technique: conventional (between 2003 and 2009) or computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing (from 2010 to 2012). Demographics, surgical factors, and perioperative and long-term outcomes were compared. RESULTS:: A total of 68 patients underwent microsurgical craniofacial reconstruction: 58 conventional and 10 computer-aided design and manufacturing fibula free flaps. By demographics, patients undergoing the computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing method were significantly older and had a higher rate of radiotherapy exposure compared with conventional patients. Intraoperatively, the median number of osteotomies was significantly higher (2.0 versus 1.0, p = 0.002) and the median ischemia time was significantly shorter (120 minutes versus 170 minutes, p = 0.004) for the computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing technique compared with conventional techniques; operative times were shorter for patients undergoing the computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing technique, although this did not reach statistical significance. Perioperative and long-term outcomes were equivalent for the two groups, notably, hospital length of stay, recipient-site infection, partial and total flap loss, and rate of soft-tissue and bony tissue revisions. CONCLUSION:: Microsurgical craniofacial reconstruction using a computer-assisted fibula flap technique yielded significantly shorter ischemia times amidst a higher number of osteotomies compared with conventional techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1219-1228
Number of pages10
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Computer-assisted versus conventional free fibula flap technique for craniofacial reconstruction: An outcomes comparison'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this