To explore the feasibility of applying bilateral free expanded scapular flaps to treat extensive cervicomandibular scar in children and adolescents.
This study reviewed 7 children and adolescent patients who received bilateral expanded scapular flaps to treat extensive cervicomandibular scars in the Pediatric Plastic Surgery Ward from August 2018 to December 2020. The scars in all patients involved neck, mandible, and anterior chest. The cervical scars involved the anterior neck and one or both sides of the lateral neck, and there were varying degrees of cervical dysfunction and mandibular dysplasia. The operation was completed into two stages. In the first stage, the expanded circumflex scapular artery perforator flaps were designed on both sides of the back and soft tissue expanders were implanted. The expansion process lasted for 6-14 months. In the second stage, the scar tissue was removed and contracture was released, and the expanded flaps were harvested. The cervical wound was repaired with free flap transplantation by anastomosing the facial artery and vein with the circumflex scapular artery and vein. The donor sites were closed directly.
In this series of 7 patients, one patient had poorly healed incision after the expander was implanted. One expanded flap ruptured before the second-stage surgery, which was successfully treated by secondary surgery. One patient had expansion problem due to the blockage of the internally placed injection bottle, which was treated by placing the injection bottle externally. One patient developed a small area of ischemic necrosis at the distal end of the flap after transplantation, which was treated conservatively with dressing change. The postoperative follow-up was 6 months to 2 years. The cervico-mandibular angle restored to normal range, the cervical extension, flexion, and rotation were significantly improved. Two patients underwent flap thinning and scar releasing.
The route of the circumflex scapular artery is constant. Bilateral expanded scapular flap transplantation can be used to repair extensive cervicomandibular scar in children and adolescent patients. The flap donor site is concealed and secondary damage is minimal.