The reconstruction of the spheno-orbital region using latissimus dorsi flap and costal graft

J Craniofac Surg. 2013 Jul;24(4):e379-83. doi: 10.1097/SCS.0b013e31829031d6.


To minimize complications in skull base surgery, it is necessary to separate intracranial structures from the upper aerodigestive tract with well-vascularized tissue. The majority of defects can be reconstructed using local flaps using pericranium, galea, or temporalis muscle. However, there are conditions that affect the suitability of the previously mentioned flaps, for example, previous surgical procedures or radiotherapy. Local flaps may also be inadequate to reconstruct particularly large defects. Extensive bony demolitions produce aesthetic deformities that need accurate reconstructions. Orbital wall defects have to be reconstructed to avoid complications such as the transmission of cerebral pulsation, bulbar dystopias, diplopia, and ophthalmoplegia. The microvascular latissimus dorsi flap is ideal in all these cases, and the use of a costal graft allows simultaneous reconstruction of bony defects. From January 2000 to January 2008, 17 patients have undergone surgical ablation of the spheno-orbital region and reconstruction with latissimus dorsi flap and costal grafts. The flap survival rate was 100%. One patient required revision of the venous anastomosis. No cerebrospinal fluid leak or intracranial infections have been detected. The only complications registered were dystopias in 6 patients and diplopia in 4; all of these spontaneously resolved within 2 months. The microvascular latissimus dorsi flap with costal graft is an effective method for the reconstruction of the spheno-orbital region when local flaps are not indicated. It has a negligible donor-site morbidity, an ideal vascular pedicle, and an easy harvesting technique. The costal graft allows the simultaneous reconstruction of the orbital walls, giving good results.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bone Transplantation / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lacrimal Apparatus / pathology*
  • Male
  • Meningioma / surgery*
  • Microsurgery
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurofibroma / surgery*
  • Orbital Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Plastic Surgery Procedures / methods*
  • Skull Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Sphenoid Bone / pathology*
  • Superficial Back Muscles / transplantation*
  • Surgical Flaps*
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome