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Developments in reconstruction of midface and maxilla.

Lancet Oncology 2006 March
Loss of the maxilla and midfacial structures after tumour removal has substantial functional and aesthetic consequences. The variable loss of soft tissue, bone, or both, leading to collapse of the lip, cheek, periorbital soft tissues, and palatal competence present a challenging dilemma for reconstructive surgeons. Efforts have been made to classify these midfacial defects and provide appropriate algorithms for optimum reconstruction. Not only does the cavity need to be obliterated and midfacial contours recreated, but swallowing function, phonation, and mastication need to be restored for an ideal result. Traditionally, these defects would have been repaired by a maxillofacial prosthesis but advances in tissue transfers, particularly of microvascular free flaps, have greatly increased reconstructive options. The wide variety of free flaps that contain both soft tissue and bone offer unique properties that could be applicable depending on the defect. Combinations of free tissue transfer, local flaps, and maxillofacial prostheses might achieve a more ideal result than one technique alone. Advances in osseointegration have also enhanced the ability to achieve the best function and form. No one flap or technique is sufficient to reconstruct midface defects in all patients. The choices should be tailored to the bony and soft-tissue needs of each specific defect, denture-bearing potential of the original tissues, and available prosthodontic support. Use of a multidisciplinary approach to reconstruct these defects can yield excellent results. The complexity of the techniques should match the desired goals and needs of each individual patient.

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