“Large” nasal defects are typically classified as larger than 1.5 cm. Within that group, however, there is a subset of patients with smaller nasal defects (1.5-2.5 cm) who are treated differently. This study examines the different methods that we have used in the reconstruction of such “intermediate-size” nasal defects.
To review the treatment and outcomes of patients who have undergone reconstruction of intermediate-size nasal defects and to share our empirical algorithm.
Design, Setting, and Participants
This was a retrospective review at an academic university practice of all patients who had undergone reconstruction of intermediate-size (1.5-2.5 cm) nasal defects from January 1, 1999, to September 1, 2013. From these data, a working algorithm was derived.
Nasal reconstruction of intermediate-size nasal defects.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Method of reconstruction was correlated with site and size of defects. Postoperative complications were reviewed.
A total of 315 patients with nasal defects measuring 1.5 to 2.5 cm were identified. Of these, 199 patients (63.2%) had a defect in a single subunit, and 116 (37.8%) had involvement of a combination of subunits. Ninety-seven patients (30.8%) had local flaps, 94 patients (29.8%) had forehead flaps, 51 patients (16.2%) had full-thickness skin grafts (FTSG), 40 (12.7%) had composite grafts, and 33 (10.5%) had melolabial flaps. The defects were categorized according to subunit locations. There was a pattern of reconstruction for each defect according to their site, size, and depth. Alar defects were mainly repaired with melolabial flaps (25 of 85 patients [29.4%]), or by composite grafts (24 of 85 patients [28.2%]). Nasal tip defects were mainly repaired using local flaps (28 of 69 patients [40.5%]), FTSG (19 of 69 patients [27.5%]), and forehead flaps (19 of 69 patients [27.5%]). The reconstruction of choice in dorsal and sidewall defects were local flaps and forehead flaps. There were 28 wound-related complications, such as pincushioning, dehiscence, and infection (incidence rate, 8.9%), and 4 cases of postoperative nasal obstruction (1.3%).
Conclusions and Relevance
There is a paucity of literature on the subject of reconstruction of intermediate-size nasal defects. This algorithm is derived from our practice and offers the surgeon specific reconstructive options for consideration when facing nasal defects of 1.5 to 2.5 cm. The algorithm is based on subunits.