Submental versus platysma flap for the reconstruction of complex facial defects following resection of head and neck tumors
Objective: To compare the platysma flap with submental flap in terms of tumor and flap characteristics, operative properties and the functional outcomes.
Methods: A total of 65 patients presented with tumors of head and neck and underwent curative tumor resection with different neck dissections at the Department of Oromaxillofacial-Head and Neck Surgery, School of Stomatology of China Medical University; from March 2005 to December 2012 were included in the study. After radical tumor excision and neck dissection the resultant complex defects were reconstructed with either platysma flap or the submental flap. The extent of surgical resection, the type of neck dissection and choice of flap reconstruction was at the discretion of the surgical team. The functional outcomes, operative time and characteristics of both platysma and submental flaps were compared and the statistical tests of significance were applied accordingly.
Results: The mean age was 60 years. The complex facial defects of 30 patients were reconstructed with platysma flap and of 35 patients with submental flap. Mean operation time of submental flap including flap harvesting (5.58±1.96hrs) was shorter than platysma flap (6.2±1.4hrs). The majority of the flaps (88-93%) were taken successfully in both groups. Submental flap was associated with significantly higher patients’ satisfaction regarding acceptable functional outcomes (p-value 0.027). The mean reduction in mouth opening was significantly smaller in platysma group (0.37 ±0.18cms) than the submental group (0.47±0.16).
Conclusion: This study demonstrates that both platysma and submental flap techniques can be used for the reconstruction of complex facial defects with the acceptable functional outcome. The platysma flap can be harvested to medium size defects up to 70cm2 with good mouth opening. The submental flap is simpler, faster with a wider range of application and more acceptable functional outcomes.
How to cite this:Safdar J, Liu FY, Moosa Y, Xu ZF, Li ZN, Sun CF. Submental versus platysma flap for the reconstruction of complex facial defects following resection of head and neck tumors. Pak J Med Sci 2014;30(4):739-744. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.12669/pjms.304.5177
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