What is forehead flap surgery?
Forehead flaps are surgery to repair nasal defects.
Forehead flaps are a surgical procedure that is mainly used to repair nasal defects. Nasal reconstruction has seen significant advancements in the modern era, though forehead flap surgery itself is not new.
The following surgeries use forehead flaps:
- Forehead flaps are used in the reconstruction of the nose tip because proper concealment of defects is essential to restore the desired look.
- Nasal defects larger than 1.5 cm can be better managed with a forehead flap.
Who should not undergo forehead flap surgery?
Certain factors may compromise the success of this surgery. Patients with the following medical conditions should not undergo this procedure:
- Underlying medical conditions, such as clotting problems and diabetes
- Deep scars across the forehead
- Previous skin cancer with significant chances of reoccurrence
- Poor patient compliance
- Nutritional deficits
- Serum albumin levels less than 3 g/dL
- Skin acne
- Use of tobacco products
How is a forehead flap procedure performed?
Before the surgery
- Discuss with the surgeon about goals, potential risks and post-surgery care.
- Detail any past medical and medication history.
During the surgery
- The patient will be given anesthesia to remain unconscious throughout the procedure.
- An outline or stencil to match the shape of the defect is placed on the forehead and marked.
- The flap from the forehead is cut out and then placed upside-down over the defect of the nose using fine stitches.
- To enhance the visual appearance of the reconstructed nose, the surgeon might remove bulky tissue if the flap seems too heavy or bulky.
After the surgery
Post-surgery instructions involve:
- Avoid applying excessive pressure.
- Wound care, including cleaning with diluted hydrogen peroxide.
- Protection from sunlight exposure for at least six months.
What are the risks of forehead flap surgery?
- Blood clots underneath the flap
- Bleeding from nose
- Nasal obstruction
- A post-surgery clot in deep veins
- Numbness of the flap
- Displacement of hair-bearing skin
- Pale-colored or blue/purple-colored flap
What is the outcome of forehead flap surgery?
Generally, this surgery takes an hour to complete. The forehead flap procedure can take months to heal, depending on procedure types and the underlying condition of the patient. Long-term effects provide a good color match, inconspicuous scars and preferred nasal shape without excessive bulk.