Objectives To describe the use of a temporary intraoperative external fixation device to assist in the optimal bony reconstruction of the mandible in the setting of vascularized bone grafts.
Study Design A retrospective review of six patients who underwent composite resection of the mandible and subsequent reconstruction with osteocutaneous free tissue transfer in a tertiary care center.
Methods Six cases of mandibular reconstruction using an intraoperative external fixation system to assist the positioning of vascularized bone grafts are presented. All patients had composite resection of the mandible and subsequent reconstruction with either a scapula or fibula osteocutaneous flap. Follow-up ranged from 2 to 16 months.
Results Successful reconstruction as defined by acceptable contour, occlusion, and condylar position was achieved in all cases. Complications were limited to a postoperative cerebrovascular accident requiring anticoagulation and subsequent neck hematoma.
Conclusions Use of intraoperative external fixation maintains the proper alignment of mandibular segments without the use of a bridging reconstruction plate. This technique is particularly valuable with tumors involving the outer cortex of the mandible.