Effect of concurrent mental nerve reconstruction at the same time as mandibular reconstruction using a fibula osteoseptocutaneous flap.

Abstract

The damage of inferior alveolar nerve causes some functional problem including numbness of lower lip and drooling. During segmental mandibulectomy, inferior alveolar nerve commonly resected, therefore, it is ideal to reconstruct the nerve to get better functional result. Sensory recovery was assessed after mandibular reconstruction using free fibula osteoseptocutaneous flap in thirteen cases. In six cases, the mental nerve reconstruction was performed simultaneously, and in seven cases, the mental nerve reconstruction was not performed. In the case that the mental nerve was reconstructed simultaneously, unilateral mental nerve reconstruction was performed in five cases, and bilateral mental nerve reconstruction was performed in one cases. More than one year after the reconstruction, sensory recovery was assessed and compared between the group that the mental nerve was reconstructed and the group that was not reconstructed. Our results showed almost a normal sensory recovery of the lips on the reconstructed side more than one year after the reconstruction in reconstructed group. In contrast, sensory recovery was poor in non-reconstructed group and non-reconstructed side. These results showed that mental nerve reconstruction at the same time as mandibular reconstruction affects the postoperative mandibular function. The sural nerve can be harvested from the same donor site of the free fibula osteoseptocutaneous flap and such mental nerve reconstruction with nerve grafting can be completed within an hour. Most cases of mandibular reconstruction using a free fibula osteoseptocutaneous flap transfer can therefore be candidates for mental nerve reconstruction at the time of mandibular reconstruction.

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