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Concept: Free flap


As a result of major ablative surgery, head and neck oncology patients can be left with significant defects in the orofacial region. The resultant defect raises the need for advanced reconstruction techniques. The reconstruction in this region is aimed at restoring function and facial contour. The use of vascularised free flaps has revolutionised the reconstruction in the head and neck. Advances in reconstruction techniques have resulted in continuous improvement of oral rehabilitation. For example, endosteal implants are being used to restore the masticatory function by the way of prosthetic replacement of the dentition. Implant rehabilitation usually leads to improved facial appearance, function, restoration of speech and mastication. Suitable dental implant placement’s site requires satisfactory width, height and quality of bone. Reconstruction of hard tissue defects therefore will need to be tailored to meet the needs for implant placement.The aim of this feasibility study was to assess the compatibility of five standard commercially available dental implant systems (Biomet 3i, Nobel Biocare, Astra tech, Straumann and Ankylos) for placement into vascularised fibula graft during the reconstruction of oromandibular region.Radiographs (2D) of the lower extremities from 142 patients in the archives of the Department of Radiology in University College London Hospitals (UCLH) were analysed in this study. These radiographs were from 61 females and 81 males. Additionally, 60 unsexed dry fibular bones, 30 right sided, acquired from the collection of the Department of Anatomy, University College London (UCL) were also measured to account for the 3D factor.In the right fibula (dry bone), 90% of the samples measured had a width of 13.1 mm. While in the left fibula (dry bone), 90% of the samples measured had a width of 13.3 mm. Fibulas measured on radiographs had a width of 14.3 mm in 90% of the samples. The length ranges of the dental implants used in this study were: 7-13 mm (Biomet 3i), 10-13 mm (Nobel biocare), 8-13 mm (Astra Tech), 8-12 mm (Straumann ) and 8-11 mm (Ankylos).This study reached a conclusion that the width of fibula is sufficient for placement of most frequently used dental implants for oral rehabilitation after mandibular reconstructive procedures.

Concepts: Implants, Dental implant, Oral and maxillofacial surgery, Osseointegration, Free flap, Per-Ingvar Brånemark, Nobel Biocare, University College London


INTRODUCTION: Venous anastomosis is 1 of the most challenging technical aspects of microsurgery. Recently, it has been expedited by the use of an anastomotic coupler device in multiple reconstructive venues. However, there are few studies in the literature evaluating the use of the coupler in lower extremity reconstruction. We present 1 of the largest series to date examining the use of the venous coupler in microsurgical reconstruction of the lower extremity. METHODS: A retrospective chart review was completed including all lower extremity soft tissue reconstruction over a 26-month period performed by the senior authors. The Synovis venous coupler was used in all coupled venous anastomoses (Synovis Micro Companies Alliance Inc, Birmingham, Alabama). Patients under 18 years of age were excluded. RESULTS: Forty-nine free flaps were performed in 48 patients. All arterial anastomoses were hand sewn. The anastomotic venous coupler was used in 48 of 49 flaps (97.9%) with 1 hand-sewn case due to attending preference during early experience. There were no intraoperative vascular complications. Successful free flap reconstruction occurred in 47 of 49 flaps (95.9%). Of the flap losses, 1 was due to delayed venous thrombosis, the other attributed to delayed arterial thrombosis. Venous thrombosis rate was 2.1% when the coupler was used (1 failure in 48 flaps). CONCLUSIONS: The use of the venous coupler device in lower extremity reconstruction can be performed with a high degree of success. The potential of the venous coupler for reduced operative time, more efficient anastomoses with decreased ischemia, and reduced thrombotic rates represents potential benefits of this important tool.

Concepts: Blood, Thrombosis, Surgery, Vein, Cardiovascular system, Anastomosis, Surgical anastomosis, Free flap


Simultaneous multiple free flaps have become a useful option in head and neck reconstructions. We performed a 10-year retrospective study between 2001 and 2010. There were 58 men and 1 woman. The overall mortality rate was 51.7%. The longest surviving patient is 9 years and 4 months, whereas the shortest surviving patient was 72 days. The mean survival period was 47.1 (6.8) months. Age (P = 0.755) and tumor size (P = 0.115) did not play a major role, but surgical margin, lymph node, and tumor recurrence were significant in patient survival with a P value of 0.026, 0.01, and 0.026, respectively. If wide excision with a margin that can be free of tumor can be performed, lymph nodes are not involved, and this is a primary tumor, then time and effort should be spent in a successful simultaneous multiple free flap reconstruction.

Concepts: Cancer, Patient, Lymph node, Lymph, Free flap


OBJECTIVE To report outcomes in free flap reconstructive surgery in the setting of calcified arteriosclerosis affecting the flap pedicle. DESIGN Retrospective review, including a detailed analysis of medical records, histopathologic findings, and a comprehensive review of the literature. METHODS A total of 1329 consecutive microvascular free tissue transfers were performed by 2 reconstructive surgeons at a university-affiliated tertiary care medical center from January 1, 1996, through December 31, 2011. Clinical notes, operative notes, and pathology reports were systematically reviewed to identify 44 patients (3%) with calcified arteriosclerosis involving the flap vascular pedicle. A comprehensive medical record review was performed for the included patients, detailing patient-related characteristics, flap survival, and incidence of perioperative complications. RESULTS A history of arteriosclerosis was identified preoperatively in 18 patients (41%). Eight patients (18%) were specifically recognized clinically and histologically to have a variant of arteriosclerosis known as Mönckeberg medial calcific sclerosis. In total, fibula osteocutaneous free flap was performed in 30 patients, radial forearm in 8 patients, rectus abdominus in 3 patients, latissimus dorsi in 2 patients, and parascapular in 1 patient. Perioperative complications occurred in 17 patients (39%), with the most common being pulmonary (14%) and cardiac (9%). Patient follow-up ranged from 3 to 137 months, with a mean postoperative follow-up of 21 months. The mean length of hospital stay was 12 days. There was a 0% incidence of total flap failure and a 7% incidence of partial flap necrosis. CONCLUSION Although technically challenging, successful microvascular free flap reconstruction can be achieved despite the presence of vascular calcifications affecting the flap vascular pedicle.

Concepts: Medicine, Atherosclerosis, Hospital, Cardiology, Surgery, Physician, Cardiovascular diseases, Free flap


Background The authors describe our current practice of computer-aided virtual planned and pre-executed surgeries using microvascular free tissue transfer with immediate placement of implants and dental prosthetics.Methods All patients with ameloblastomas treated at New York University (NYU) Medical Center during a 10-year period from September 2001 to December 2011 were identified. Of the 38 (36 mandible/2 maxilla) patients that were treated in this time period, 20 were identified with advanced disease (giant ameloblastoma) requiring aggressive resection. Reconstruction of the resultant defects utilized microvascular free tissue transfer with an osseocutaneous fibular flap in all 20 of these patients.Results Of the patients reconstructed with free vascularized tissue transfer, 35% (7/20) developed complications. There were two complete flap failures with consequent contralateral fibula flap placement. Sixteen patients to date have undergone placement of endosteal implants for complete dental rehabilitation, nine of which received immediate placement of the implants at the time of the free flap reconstruction. The three most recent patients received immediate placement of dental implants at the time of microvascular free tissue transfer as well as concurrent placement of dental prosthesis.Conclusions To our knowledge, this patient cohort represents the largest series of comprehensive computer aided free-flap reconstruction with dental restoration for giant type ameloblastoma.

Concepts: Implants, Computer-aided design, Dental implant, Dentistry, Oral and maxillofacial surgery, Periodization, Free flap, CAD/CAM Dentistry


Free muscle transfer for dynamic smile reanimation in facial paralysis is not always predictable with regard to cosmesis. Hospital stays range from 5 to 7 days. Prolonged operative times, longer hospital stays, and excessive cheek bulk are associated with free flap options. Lengthening temporalis myoplasty offers single-stage smile reanimation with theoretical advantages over free tissue transfer.

Concepts: Plastic surgery, Free flap, TRAM flap


Microvascular free tissue transfer has become the main technique used for head and neck reconstruction. We assessed the cost-effectiveness of free flap reconstruction for head and neck defects after oncologic resection for squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).

Concepts: Head and neck anatomy, Head and neck, Carcinoma, Squamous cell carcinoma, Squamous epithelium, Free flap


This study was to evaluate the use of virtual planning and 3D printing modeling in mandibular reconstruction and compare the operation time and surgical outcome of this technique with conventional method.

Concepts: Free flap, Virtual machine


The establishment of an effective clinical and academic culture within an institution is a multifactorial process. This process is cultivated by dynamic elements such as recruitment of an accomplished and diverse faculty, patient geographic outreach, clinical outcomes research, and fundamental support from all levels of an institution. This study reviews the academic evolution of a single academic plastic surgery practice, and summarizes a 10-year experience of microsurgical development, clinical outcomes, and academic productivity.

Concepts: Hospital, Surgery, Plastic surgery, Review, Reconstructive surgery, Microsurgery, The Establishment, Free flap


 Free tissue transfers can successfully address a wide range of reconstructive requirements. While the negative influence of cigarette smoking is well documented, its effects in the setting of microsurgical free flap reconstruction remain debated. This study evaluates the impact of cigarette smoking on microsurgical reconstructions.

Concepts: Smoking, Tobacco, Cigarette, Nicotine, Free flap