Microsurgical reconstruction of posttraumatic high-energy maxillary defects: Establishing the effectiveness of early reconstruction

Eduardo DeJesus Rodriguez, Mark Martin, Rachel Bluebond-Langner, Marwan R Khalifeh, Navin Singh, Paul N. Manson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Posttraumatic, high-energy defects of the midface can be challenging to reconstruct because they involve extensive composite tissue loss and result in significant permanent functional and cosmetic deformity. These injuries require replacement of the bony framework, external soft tissue, and intraoral mucosa. Local skin flaps and nonvascularized bone grafts have been used for reconstruction, but bony resorption and the associated soft-tissue collapse limit long-term viability. The authors present a classification of maxillary defects following high-energy trauma and a treatment algorithm using vascularized bone flaps. METHODS: Fourteen patients with significant maxillary loss from high-energy trauma underwent reconstruction with composite vascularized bone flaps. Eight patients had fibula flaps and six had iliac crest flaps. There were five women and nine men, with a mean age of 36.3 years (range, 21 to 48 years) and a mean follow-up of 18 months (range, 5 to 54 months). RESULTS: Thirteen of the 14 flaps survived. Nine patients had additional procedures. Nine patients had oronasal fistulas and eight were dependent on gastrostomy tubes preoperatively. All patients were able to feed orally without nasal regurgitation postoperatively. All patients achieved stable restoration of the midfacial architecture. CONCLUSIONS: The classification scheme presented centers on the missing maxillary subunits. The reconstructive algorithm is based on the type of defect, tissue requirement, and donor tissues necessary to restore facial projection and prosthodontic rehabilitation. Iliac crest and fibula bone free flaps are ideal for restoring a variety of traumatic maxillary defects. The authors advocate early reconstructive intervention using vascularized bone flaps to achieve superior functional and cosmetic outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103S-117S
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number7 SUPPL. 2
StatePublished - Dec 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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