J Korean Cleft Palate-Craniofac Assoc.  2010 Apr;11(1):53-57.

Reconstruction of Hard Palatal Defect using Staged Operation of the Prelaminated Radial Forearm Free Flap

  • 1Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, College of Medicine, Soonchunhyang University, Cheonan, Korea. psdoctorkjh@hanmail.net


The radial forearm fasciocutaneous free flap is currently considered as the ideal free flap for reconstruction of mucosal and soft tissue defects of the palate. But the availability of stably attached oral and nasal mucosal lining is needed. In addition to this, for better operation field, operating convenience and esthetics, we planned a prelaminated radial forearm free flap.
A 64-year-old male patient was admitted due to a 4x4.5cm full through defect in the middle of the hard palate caused by peripheral T cell lymphoma with actinomycosis. In the first stage, the radial forearm flap was elevated, tailored to fit the hard palate defect, and then it positioned up-side down with split thickness skin graft. Two weeks later, the prelaminated radial forearm free flap was re-elevated and transferred to the palatal defect. One side covered with grafted skin was used to line the nasal cavity, and the other side(the cutaneous portion of the radial forearm flap) was used to line the oral cavity.
The prelamination procedure was relatively easy and useful. The skin graft was well taken to the flap. After 2nd stage operation, the flap survived uneventfully. There was no prolapse of the inset flap into the oral cavity and the cutaneous portion of the flap was mucosalized. The procedure was very successful and the patient can enjoy normal rigid diet and speech.
The use of prelaminated radial forearm free flap for hard palate reconstruction is an excellent method to restore oral function. Based upon the result of this case, microvascular free flap transfer with prelaminated procedure is a valid alternative to the prosthetic obturator for palatal defect that provides an improved quality of life. It should be considered as an integral component of head and neck cancer therapy and rehabilitation.


Prelamination; Prefabrication; Radial forearm free flap; Palate reconstruction
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