BACKGROUND: The anatomical peculiarities of extensive malignant neoplasms of the scalp and forehead remain a challenge for plastic surgeons. Although several procedures for repair of these defects have been described, the ideal reconstruction relies on careful assessment of each clinical case and aims to achieve the best functional and aesthetic outcome with minimal morbidity of the donor area. The aim of this study is to evaluate a series of patients who underwent immediate reconstruction following scalp and forehead tumor resection, in order to demonstrate the personal technique and experience of the author.
METHODS: This is a retrospective analysis of 25 patients who underwent scalp and forehead reconstruction between June 2009 and June 2011 following treatment for advanced skin cancer. The following parameters were studied: gender, age, diagnosis, clinical staging, location and size of the defect, repair strategy, complications, and current clinical status.
RESULTS: Of the 25 patients, 60% were men; the average age was 64.8 years. Patients most frequently presented in clinical stage III (88%). Squamous cell carcinoma was the most common tumor (84%) and the biparietal region was the most commonly affected area (20%). The size of the defects varied from 3.8 cm × 3.5 cm to 22.9 cm × 15 cm. The reconstructive procedure used most often (80%) relies on the production of a local flap. Two (8%) cases of partial flap necrosis and 1 case (4%) of partial graft loss were noted. All patients are still alive and only one shows signs of proliferative malignant neoplasm (tumor recurrence without treatment options). With regard to functional and aesthetic aspects, both the author and the patients considered the results obtained to be satisfactory.
CONCLUSIONS: In the literature, a variety of procedures for scalp reconstruction have already been described. In patients with extensive loss of soft tissues, microsurgical flaps are the most commonly used option. Reconstruction with a local advancement flap is a safe technique, provides satisfactory results, and is performed with a simple technical procedure. It therefore may be ideal for borderline-operable patients.
Keywords: Surgical flaps. Plastic surgery. Scalp/surgery. Head and neck neoplasms. Reconstructive surgical procedures.