Cephalometric and Functional Mandibular Reconstructive Outcomes Using a Horizontal Scapular Tip Free Flap

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2021 Sep;165(3):414-418. doi: 10.1177/0194599820984132. Epub 2021 Jan 5.


Scapula tip free flaps (STFFs) have become an increasingly popular option for head and neck reconstruction. The aim of this study is to demonstrate the feasibility of using the STFF in a horizontal orientation to take advantage of the anatomy of the scapular tip bone to re-create a mandibular symphysis. Eight patients underwent oromandibular reconstruction with a horizontally oriented STFF between October 2016 and June 2020. Virtual surgical planning was used to design the bony reconstruction in 6 cases. Primary outcomes, including flap survival, complications, and return to oral diet, were collected. Cephalometric measurements were obtained to compare preoperative and postoperative mandibular projection and width. All flaps survived without compromise, and no fistulas developed postoperatively. Seven patients returned to taking an oral diet. Cephalometric analysis revealed comparable measurements between preoperative and postoperative mandibles and reconstructed mandibles, respectively. STFFs may be oriented horizontally to reconstruct large anterior mandibular defects with satisfactory results.

Keywords: cephalometric; free flap; head and neck; mandibular reconstruction; microvascular; osteocutaneous; scapular tip; virtual surgical planning.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cephalometry*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Free Tissue Flaps*
  • Graft Survival
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mandibular Reconstruction / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Recovery of Function
  • Scapula / transplantation*