Pedicled Temporalis Muscle Flap for Craniofacial Reconstruction: A 35-Year Clinical Experience with 366 Flaps

Stefano Spanio Di Spilimbergo, Paolo Nordera, Samir Mardini, Giusy Castiglione, Harvey Chim, Vittore Pinna, Massimo Brunello, Claudio Cusino, Squaquara Roberto, Ugo Baciliero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: In the past 130 years, the temporalis muscle flap has been used for a variety of different indications. In this age of microsurgery and perforator flaps, the temporalis muscle flap still has many useful applications for craniofacial reconstruction. Methods: Three hundred sixty-six temporalis muscle flaps were performed in a single center between 1978 and 2012. The authors divided the cases into two series - before and after 1994 - because, after 1994, they started to perform free flap reconstructions, and indications for reconstruction with a temporalis muscle flap were changed Results: In the series after 1994, flaps were most commonly used for reconstruction of defects in the maxilla, mandible, and oropharynx, in addition to facial reanimation and filling of orbital defects. Complications included total flap necrosis (1.6 percent) and partial flap necrosis (10.7 percent). The rate of material extrusion at the donor site decreased after porous polyethylene was uniformly used for reconstruction from 17.1 to 7.9 percent. Conclusions: The pedicled temporalis muscle flap continues to have many applications in craniofacial reconstruction. With increasing use of free flaps, the authors' indications for the pedicled temporalis muscle flap are now restricted to (1) orbital filling for congenital or acquired anophthalmia; (2) filling of unilateral maxillectomy defects; and (3) facial reanimation in selected cases of facial nerve palsy. CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic, IV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)468e-476e
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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