To analyze the influence of the unique percentage of skin carcinomas with skull base invasion on the choice of the facial surgical approach.
Multi-institutional retrospective analysis of the medical charts of all patients who had undergone oncological craniofacial operations from 1981 to 2005. Data were collected on demographic distribution, location of the primary tumor, histologic type, type of operation, reconstruction, complications, and outcome. Special attention was directed toward the choice of facial approach.
Two major tertiary care centers.
A total of 484 patients who had undergone major skull base operations.
Frequency of atypical facial approaches.
Main Outcome Measures
Impact on the need for more sophisticated reconstructions and on surgical morbidity.
During this 25-year period, 484 patients underwent major skull base operations in the 2 centers; data concerning 467 cases were available for analysis. The median age of the patients was 52.8 years (range, 4-88 years), and the male-female ratio was 1.9:1.0. The initial location of the tumor was the craniofacial skin in 63.5% of cases, ethmoid in 10.8%, maxilla in 2.3%, orbit in 1.9%, and other origins, including endocranial, in 19.4%. The histologic type of the lesions was basal cell carcinoma in 42.0% of cases, squamous cell carcinoma in 29.5%, esthesioneuroblastoma in 5.3%, adenocarcinoma in 3.9%, adenoid cystic carcinoma in 2.8%, and other types in 16.5%. Owing to this high prevalence of advanced skin carcinomas, the most commonly employed facial approach was atypical, tailored to encompass all compromised skin and underlying tissues, in 55.5% of cases, followed by the Weber-Ferguson approach, with all its variations (eg, nasal swing) in 17.8%, lateral rhinotomy in 12.2%, facial translocation in 3.8%, and other facial techniques in 7.7%. No facial approach was required in 1.5% of cases.
In most situations, head and neck surgeons chose an atypical surgical approach to properly resect all facial structures invaded by very advanced skin cancers.