Reconstruction of composite oral cavity defects with temporalis flaps after prior treatment

Joseph Zenga, Brian Nussenbaum, Jason T. Rich, Allen Sclaroff, Jason A. Diaz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background Reconstruction of composite oral cavity defects in the setting of prior surgery and radiotherapy presents a significant challenge. Although free tissue transfer has shown success in such situations, it is not without considerable risk. Regional pedicled flaps may provide a more suitable alternative. In certain patients, however, severe soft tissue fibrosis makes more conventional regional flaps impractical or impossible. In these situations, temporalis flaps (temporalis muscle and temporoparietal fascia flaps) are versatile options for coverage of complex defects. Objective To report our experience using pedicled temporalis flaps for reconstruction of composite oral cavity defects in patients with significant co-morbidities and prior treatment. Methods Three patients were identified and their medical records were reviewed. Their clinical courses and functional outcomes are described. We include a discussion of the operative technique and relevant literature. Results All patients had previously undergone extensive treatment. One patient needed reconstruction after resection of a third head and neck malignancy and two patients presented for treatment of osteoradionecrosis. A temporalis muscle flap was used to reconstruct composite oral cavity defects in two patients and a combined temporalis muscle and temporoparietal fascia flap was used for independent defects in one patient. All flaps survived. Functional status and pain improved or stabilized in all patients. There were no major or minor complications. Conclusion In previously treated fields, where more conventional flaps are impractical, temporalis flaps are a suitable alternative to achieve a stable healing wound and prevent worsening of functional status.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-102
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


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