Skin Grafts vs Local Flaps for Reconstruction of Nasal Defects: A Retrospective Cohort Study.
PublisherJournal of the Medical Library Association
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IMPORTANCE: Nasal defects commonly are a result of removal of skin lesions, and reconstruction presents a cosmetic challenge to surgeons. Conventional thought and study results have held that cosmetic outcomes of local flap reconstructions may be superior to those of skin grafts. However, local flap reconstructions require more adjunctive procedures. We propose that in select cases, skin grafts can provide aesthetic outcomes equal to those of local flaps with fewer adjunctive procedures. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the cosmetic outcomes of skin grafts vs local flaps in the reconstruction of nasal defects. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This is a retrospective review of medical records for 103 patients who underwent nasal reconstruction with either skin graft (n=39) or local flap (n=64) between 2005 and 2013. All patients were treated by a single surgeon at an academic medical institution. Patients who had defects larger than 30 × 35 mm or a history of adjacent reconstruction that would detract from the cosmetic outcome of the procedure under analysis were excluded. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Cosmetic outcome was graded using a visual analog scale (VAS) score based on an ordinal 5-point Likert scale (1, excellent; 5, poor) by 4 independent raters blinded to reconstruction technique. Information was collected regarding patient demographics, defect size, pathology, type of reconstruction, and any postoperative procedures performed. RESULTS: The mean VAS score for the skin graft group was 2.18, while the mean score for the flap group was 2.12 (P = .43). The 39 patients with graft reconstruction had a total of 11 triamcinolone acetonide injections and 8 dermabrasion sessions postoperatively. The 64 patients with local flap reconstruction had a total of 259 triamcinolone acetonide injections and 13 dermabrasion sessions postoperatively plus 39 additional staged surgical procedures. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Skin grafts are a valuable reconstructive option that provide aesthetic outcomes comparable to those of local flap procedures and with less need for additional postoperative interventions in properly selected nasal defects. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:3.