Restoration of the orbital aesthetic subunit in complex midface defects

Douglas B. Chepeha, Steven J. Wang, Lawrence J. Marentette, Carol R. Bradford, Charles M. Boyd, Mark E. Prince, Theodoros N. Teknos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Objectives/Hypothesis:Although various options exist for restoration of the orbital defect in complex craniofacial resections, the aesthetic appearance and functional result of the orbit are optimized when the bony orbital architecture, orbital volume, and facial contour are specifically addressed. The study describes an approach using free tissue transfer for restoration of the native orbital aesthetic subunit. Study Design:Retrospective case series. Methods:Nineteen patients (male-to-female ratio, 14:5; mean age, 52 y [age range, 8-79 y]) in the study period between 1997 and 2001 had orbital defects that could be classified into one of the following categories: 1) orbital exenteration cavities only, 2) orbital exenteration cavities with resection of less than 30% of the bony orbital rim, or 3) radical orbital exenteration cavities with resection of overlying skin and bony malar eminence. Group 1 had reconstructions with fasciocutaneous forearm flaps; group 2, with osseocutaneous forearm flaps; and group 3, with osseocutaneous scapula flaps. Results:Eighteen of 19 patients achieved a closed orbital reconstruction with restoration of the orbital aesthetic subunit. Among 16 patients with more than 4 months of follow-up, 10 patients had minimal or no resulting facial contour deformity and 8 patients engaged in social activities outside the home on a frequent basis. Five of the nine patients who were working before their surgery were able to return to work. Conclusion:Patients with complex midface defects involving the orbit can undergo free tissue transfer and have successful restoration of the native orbital aesthetic subunit without an orbital prosthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1706-1713
Number of pages8
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Orbital reconstruction
  • free flaps
  • head and neck cancer
  • head and neck reconstruction
  • prosthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


Dive into the research topics of 'Restoration of the orbital aesthetic subunit in complex midface defects'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this