Objectives: To describe the split orbicularis myomucosal flap and to review our center's experience with this technique for large defects of the lower lip. Methods: All patients presenting to the senior author (Y.D.) for lower lip reconstruction using this flap were reviewed in a retrospective fashion. Results: A total of 14 patients with a minimum follow-up of 6 months (mean, 3.4 years; range, 6 months to 5 years) underwent lower lip reconstruction using the split orbicularis myomucosal flap from May 1999 to May 2004. Twelve of the defects arose as a result of cancer resection (squamous cell carcinoma [n=8], basal cell carcinoma [n=3], and melanoma [n=1]), and 2 arose secondary to trauma. The defect crossed the vermilion in two thirds of the cases, extending for a variable distance onto the cutaneous portion of the lower lip. The defect size varied from 50% to 80% of the transverse dimension of the lower lip (mean, 68%) and involved the commissure in 4 patients. There were no flap failures, facial nerve palsies or paralyses, oral incompetence, or need for scar revision in any of our study population. Conclusion: The split orbicularis myomucosal flap is a reliable method of reconstructing significant defects of up to 80% of the lower lip with minimal risks of microstomia or functional impairment.
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