Rigid Fixation of Vascularized Bone Grafts in Mandibular Reconstruction

Neal D. Futran, Mark L. Urken, Daniel Buchbinder, Juan F. Moscoso, Hugh F. Biller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate the nature of complications and complication rates with the use of three different reconstruction plates for the rigid fixation of vascularized bone grafts in oromandibular reconstruction. Design: We conducted a case series of 95 patients over a 6-year period, with a minimum follow-up of 6 months and a maximum follow-up of 66 months. Setting: Academic tertiary referral medical center. Patients: Forty-eight patients had vascularized bone grafts fixated to native mandible with AO stainless steel reconstruction plates; 25 patients, with AO titanium plates; and 22 patients, with titanium hollow screw reconstruction plates (THORPs). Types of vascularized flaps,mandibular defects to be reconstructed, and use of radiation therapy were similar among the three groups. Intervention: The surgical approach involved oromandibular reconstruction with a vascularized bone graft rigidly fixated with a reconstruction plate. Outcome Measures: Clinically and radiographically noted complications and resultant treatment. Results: In the grafts fixated withAO stainless steel reconstruction plates, three plate fractures, seven instances ofloose screws, eight plate exposures, and two cases of nonunion occurred. No cases of plate fracture or nonunion occurred in the titanium or THORP groups. One titanium plate and two THORPs were exposed during the study period. One instance ofloose screws occurred in the titanium group; none in the THORP group. Seventy-four percent of those complications occurred within 12.4 months (the mean follow-up time of the THORP group). The incidence of complications in the stainless steel group was significantly greater than that in the titanium or THORP groups. No statistically significant increase in the rate ofcomplicationswas noted when radiation therapy was used as a component of treatment. Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first study to compare three different reconstruction plates for fixation in vascularized bone reconstruction of the mandible. AO THORPs are now used almost exclusively to rigidly fixate vascularized bone grafts because of their advanced design and their potential for osseointegration and because fewer screws are necessary to attain adequate fixation than with conventional AO reconstruction plates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-76
Number of pages7
JournalJAMA Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1995
Externally publishedYes


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