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Osteocutaneous free flaps for mandibular reconstruction: systematic review of their frequency of use and a preliminary quality of life comparison

  • S P Moubayed (a1) (a2), B L'Heureux-Lebeau (a1), A Christopoulos (a1), J S Sampalis (a2), L Letourneau-Guillon (a3), E Bissada (a1), L Guertin (a1), P G Harris (a4), A M Danino (a4) and T Ayad (a1)...



To determine whether the fibula free flap is the most frequently used osteocutaneous flap for mandible reconstruction, and whether it provides quality of life, depression and anxiety advantages.


A systematic review of the public Medline database was conducted. Thirteen patients who underwent mandibular reconstruction at our hospital centre completed questionnaires to evaluate quality of life, depression and anxiety outcomes.


The most frequently used free flaps are those of the fibula (n = 982), radial forearm (n = 201), iliac crest (n = 113), subscapular system (n = 50) and rib–serratus (n = 7). In our patient population, there was a trend towards a better quality of life in those with a fibula free flap. However, patients in this group were significantly younger than patients with other flap types (p = 0.025). Patients with a subscapular system free flap were more depressed (p = 0.031); however, they had large through-and-through defects.


The flap used most frequently in the literature is the fibula free flap. Comparative quality of life data are lacking, and homogeneous populations should be used to reach significant conclusions.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Dr T Ayad, Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Service, Department of Surgery, Notre-Dame Hospital, Université de Montréal Hospital Center, 1560 Sherbrooke E, Montreal, Canada H2L 4M1 Fax: +1 514 412-7760 E-mail:


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