Functional outcomes in tongue reconstruction with myomucosal buccinator flaps

Published:September 04, 2021DOI:


      Buccal myomucosal local flaps in oral cavity reconstruction are a valid option for small-to-moderate defects. Nevertheless, few articles report about functional recovery. The purpose of the present analysis is to evaluate the impact of these flaps on function and quality of life.

      Study Design

      The study, retrospectively conducted on 36 patients who were surgically treated for tongue cancer between 2012 and 2018 at the Unit of Maxillo-Facial Surgery, Foundation IRCCS Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, San Giovanni Rotondo (Italy), evaluates functional outcomes using the following 4 questionnaires: Performance Status Scale for Head and Neck Cancer Patients, M.D. Anderson Dysphagia Inventory, Speech Handicap Index, and European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire Head and Neck Module.


      All patients are able to eat soft or more solid foods, and most of them eat quietly in public. Although 50% of cases reported a certain degree of dysphagia, it does not impact self-esteem and social relationships. Only 20% of patients have severe problems with speech. However, more than half of the cases (65%) report oral problems.


      The collected data confirm the suitability of the myomucosal cheek flaps for tongue reconstruction. Most patients report a good functional recovery and satisfactory quality of life even if none of them has a recovery comparable to the presurgical state.
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