Osteomyocutaneous fibular flap harvesting: Computer-assisted planning of perforator vessels using Computed Tomographic Angiography scan and cutting guide.J Craniomaxillofac Surg 2017; 45(10):1681-1686JC
Mandibular reconstruction performed after virtual planning has become more common during recent years. The gold standard for extensive mandibular reconstruction is of course a fibular free flap. In designing an osteomyocutaneous fibula flap, poor planning, aberrant anatomy and/or inadequate perforator vessels are the most frequent causes of complications and may force the surgeon to modify the flap design, explore the contralateral leg or harvest an additional microvascular flap. The goal of our study was to pre-operatively evaluate the vascular anatomy of the fibula and localize the cutaneous perforator vessels, so to create the fibular cutting guide based on the position of the cutaneous perforator and safely harvest the reconstructive flap.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Twenty consecutive patients who were candidates for mandibular reconstruction using a fibular microvascular free flap were enrolled in this study between January 2016 and August 2016. The patients were preoperatively assessed with a Computed Tomographic scan of head and neck and with a Computed Tomographic Angiography (CTA) scan of the lower limbs to evaluate the vascular anatomy of the fibula. Virtual planning was carried out for all patients. The fibular cutting guide was based on the position of the perforator cutaneous vessels, which were used to harvest the cutaneous part of the flap. Preoperative CT measurements were performed in order to identify the cutaneous perforators on the patients' skin. Intraoperative checking was performed to evaluate the accuracy of the perforators' position and the reproducibility of the virtual planning.
In 5 patients out of 20 (25%), anatomical anomalies were discovered, without clinical evidence. The perforator vessels were localized in all patients. The average difference between the CTA and the intraoperative perforator localization was 1 mm (range 0-2 mm). Fibular cutting guide was positioned and fitted the anatomy of the patients in all treated patients. This allowed us to perform the planned segmentation of the fibula, obtaining the correct number of segments. In all cases, flap insetting was carried out and skin paddle was positioned as preoperatively planned. Neither donor site complications nor flap complications occurred.
Preoperative evaluation of the legs using CTA, in patients who undergo an osteomyocutaneous fibular free flap for mandibular reconstruction, is a valuable approach to reduce altered-anatomy related complications and to improve the accuracy and outcomes of the reconstruction, especially in reconstructions of complex defects. In these cases, a soft tissue-based cutting guide can be planned based on the perforator vessels of the skin paddle, minimizing the harvesting risks of vascular lesions. Further studies and longer follow-ups are needed to evaluate the long-term outcomes and advantages of this procedure.