Assessment of the functionality of the pectoralis major myocutaneous flap skin paddle

Michael Peleg, Yoh Sawatari, Eustorgio A. Lopez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The pectoralis major myocutaneous flap (PMMF) is commonly used for oral cavity reconstruction, yet its impact on function (intelligible speech, swallowing, mastication, tongue mobility, oral competence, and mouth opening) has rarely been studied or reported in the literature. Purpose: This study assessed the long-term functional outcome of oral cavity reconstruction with PMMF, placing particular emphasis in its correlation with size of the skin paddle and volume of the flap. Materials and Methods: Twenty-five patients who underwent reconstruction of compound defects of the oral cavity that involved floor of mouth, buccal mucosa, alveolar ridge, retromolar area, lateral tongue, and continuity of mandible were assessed and followed up for up to 4 years. Assessment of function was based on predetermined clinical parameters along with consecutive measurements of skin paddle size. Results: At 6 months, the size of the skin paddles averaged a 37% decrease in size, along with a marked reduction in the mass effect from the flap. Tongue mobility was considered good in all patients. Speech was considered intelligible in 84% of patients, of which 16% required some concentration to understand. Initial complaints of difficulty swallowing resolved in every patient and mouth opening in all patients returned to their preoperative state. These findings were maintained consistently throughout the follow-up period. Flap complications, consisting of partial skin paddle necrosis, occurred in 4 patients (16%), but healed after local debridement. Intraoral hair in the skin paddle was present in 5 men who did not receive postoperative radiotherapy. Conclusions: Reconstruction of the oral cavity (including defects with partial involvement of the tongue and continuity of mandible) can be predictably accomplished using PMMF. These procedures are associated mostly with minor and temporary disruption of function and quality of life and few complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-370
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Craniofacial Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011


  • complications
  • pectoralis major myocutaneous flap
  • Speech
  • swallowing
  • tongue mobility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Surgery


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