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08.10.2018 | Original Article

The Versatility of Nasolabial Flaps in Maxillofacial Surgery

Journal of Maxillofacial and Oral Surgery
Sujeeth Kumar Shetty, Surabhi Sarkar



The nasolabial flap can be used for reconstruction of the orofacial region. The procedure is of a short duration and treats orofacial soft tissue defects of small to moderate size, especially when microsurgical free flaps are less feasible due to lack of infrastructure, expertise or financial constraints.

Aims and Objectives

To study the effectiveness of the nasolabial flaps in reconstruction of orofacial defects of various origins.

Materials and Methods

In this prospective study, 10 patients (18 nasolabial flaps) were selected randomly regardless of age, sex and need for reconstruction—whether it being requirement of tissue coverage following traumatic loss of soft tissue, soft tissue coverage after resection of a benign or malignant tumor, or resection of soft tissue defects after excision of submucous fibrosis bands. Patients were treated under general anesthesia following routine investigations, using either inferiorly or superiorly based, unilateral or bilateral nasolabial flaps for local extraoral and intraoral reconstruction. Patients were evaluated for postoperative complications, flap uptake, donor site morbidity and postoperative extraoral scarring.


In all cases, postoperative complications were relatively minor except in one flap where total flap loss was encountered. The average time taken for preparation of recipient site, flap elevation and closure was 72 min. The nasolabial flap proved itself to be extremely vascular and thus safe and suitable with satisfactory cosmetic outcomes.


The nasolabial flap proves to be a versatile flap with a proven blood supply from the facial, transverse facial and infraorbital vessels. It establishes itself as a simple procedure to execute to reconstruct the various defects of the anterior orofacial region. It is considered to be a safe flap with a low complication rate, and most importantly it offers a cosmetically pleasing and functionally satisfactory solution.

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