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Maxillofac Plast Reconstr Surg. 2016 Nov;38(11):46. English. Original Article.
Kim JW , Hwang JH , Ahn KM .
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, College of Medicine, University of Ulsan, Asan Medical Center, Ulsan, Republic of Korea.

BACKGROUND: Osteoradionecrosis is the most dreadful complication after head and neck irradiation. Orocutaneous fistula makes patients difficult to eat food. Fibular free flap is the choice of the flap for mandibular reconstruction. Osteocutaneous flap can reconstruct both hard and soft tissues simultaneously. This study was to investigate the success rate and results of the free fibular flap for osteoradionecrosis of the mandible and which side of the flap should be harvested for better reconstruction. METHODS: A total of eight consecutive patients who underwent fibula reconstruction due to jaw necrosis from March 2008 to December 2015 were included in this study. Patients were classified according to stages, primary sites, radiation dose, survival, and quality of life. RESULTS: Five male and three female patients underwent operation. The mean age of the patients was 60.1 years old. Two male patients died of recurred disease of oral squamous cell carcinoma. The mean dose of radiation was 70.5 Gy. All fibular free flaps were survived. Five patients could eat normal diet after operation; however, three patients could eat only soft diet due to loss of teeth. Five patients reported no change of speech after operation, two reported worse speech ability, and one patient reported improved speech after operation. The ipsilateral side of the fibular flap was used when intraoral soft tissue defect with proximal side of the vascular pedicle is required. The contralateral side of the fibular flap was used when extraoral skin defect with proximal side of the vascular pedicle is required. CONCLUSIONS: Osteonecrosis of the jaw is hard to treat because of poor healing process and lack of vascularity. Free fibular flap is the choice of the surgery for jaw bone reconstruction and soft tissue fistula repair. The design and selection of the right or left fibular is dependent on the available vascular pedicle and soft tissue defect sites.

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