Background:: Composite defects of the oral cavity are often the result of trauma or advanced-stage tumor extirpation. The resultant deformity frequently requires a three-dimensional reconstruction of bone and soft-tissue. The fibula free flap is the preferred method of reconstruction, with various modifications focused on providing supplemental soft-tissue coverage. The objective of this study was to ascertain both anatomic and clinical data regarding the proximal peroneal perforator and its contribution to the evolution of the fibula free flap. Methods:: Ten cadaver lower extremities were dissected to isolate the most proximal perforator supplying skin over the proximal lateral lower leg. Data were recorded regarding perforator presence, location, and course. Furthermore, review of clinical cases in which the proximal perforator was used in fibula free flap design was performed for operative data collection. Results:: Cadaveric dissections revealed the proximal perforator to be present in 90 percent of specimens. Most commonly, the perforator, originating from the peroneal artery, traveled a short intramuscular course through the soleus muscle prior to supplying the overlying skin. In all clinical cases, the perforator was easily located with Doppler prior to incision, and there were no cases of flap failure or skin paddle loss. Flap inset was found to be optimal in all cases, with no tethering or undue tension. Conclusions:: The proximal peroneal perforator was found to be anatomically reliable and clinically useful in composite oral cavity reconstruction following tumor removal. The gained separation between skin paddles allows for greater versatility in flap design and inset.
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