Jaw in a Day: One stage complete jaw rehabilitation for segmental defects of the mandible and maxilla

Tuesday, September 11, 2012: 1:30 PM
Ashish Patel DDS, MD New York, NY, USA
David Hirsch DDS, MD New York, NY, USA
Jamie Levine MD New York, NY, USA
Lawrence Brecht DDS New York, NY, USA

Statement of Problem:

The microvascular free fibula flap is widely used to reconstruct complex craniomaxillofacial defects following ablative surgery. Since its popularization for mandibular bony reconstruction in 1989, many permutations of the fibula flap have been applied to composite head and neck defects. Several authors describe endosseous implantation of the fibula post operatively or at the time of surgery to aid in dental reconstruction, but this can leave a patient partially edentulous for up to 1 year after initial surgery. Many patients are lost to follow up and do not go on to complete dental rehabilitation. This may contribute to suboptimal nutritional status, poor cosmetic outcomes, and decreased patient satisfaction. We will discuss how these problems can be circumvented by single stage surgery that incorporates dental implants and a prosthesis to allow for complete jaw reconstruction.


A retrospective chart review at NYU Langone Medical Center and Bellevue Hospital Center was completed to identify patients undergoing extirpative surgery of the maxilla or mandible with immediate reconstruction with a free fibula flap, dental implants, and dental prosthesis from 2011-2012. A total of 5 patients were treated for ameloblastoma (n=3), intraosseus hemangioma (n=1), and odontogenic myxoma (n=1) of the maxilla (n=1) and mandible (n=4).  Virtual surgical planning was implemented in all cases. During the computer assisted design phase, a virtual dental construct  of an implant supported prosthesis  was applied to the planned resection site and the fibula flap was designed to support the desired prosthesis. The cutting jigs for the jaw and fibula were manufactured according to plan as well as the implant borne dental prosthesis. In addition to osteotomy cutting slots, the fibular jig had implant drill guides to aid in correct placement. The prosthesis was secured to the fibular implants with custom abutments and then placed into temporary maxillomandibular fixation with the native dentition prior to plate osteosynthesis of the fibula. Post operative physical examination and computed tomography was used to evaluate occlusion and flap position.


All patients were reconstructed successfully with this method without any flap or implant failures. Longest follow up time was 12 months with a mean of 6 months. A total of 23 implants were planned and placed with no implant failures. 1 implant was not used due to suboptimal position in relation to the prosthesis. All patients required post operative guiding elastics with all patients achieving a reproducible desired occlusion by 2 weeks. All patients tolerated a soft diet by postoperative week 3 without the need for supplemental enteral or parenteral feeding.  All patients reported satisfaction in their reconstruction. The mean operative time was 8 hours. One patient needed revision surgery for a mobile locking screw in the plate hardware.


The fibula flap continues to be the workhorse of jaw reconstruction, and with proper patient selection and pre-operative planning, it can be used to successfully reconstruct complex maxillofacial defects from bone to teeth in a single operation. In our experience, computer assisted design and virtual planning is essential in achieving the above described results while maintaining appropriate operative times.


Tepper O, Sorice S, Hershman G, Saadeh P, Levine J, Hirsch D. Use of virtual 3-dimensional surgery in post-traumatic craniomaxillofacial reconstruction. JOMS 2011 Mar;69(3) Levine J, Patel A, Saadeh P, Hirsch D. Computer-aided design and manufacturing in craniomaxillofacial surgery: the new state of the art. J Craniofac Surg. 2012 Jan;23(1)