Quality of Life Outcomes after Free Fibula Flap Reconstruction of Mandibular Defects: A Longitudinal Examination.

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BACKGROUND:  A comprehensive understanding of changes in health-related quality of life after head and neck cancer surgery is necessary for effective preoperative counseling. The goal of this study was to perform a longitudinal analysis of postoperative quality of life outcomes after fibula free flap (FFF) mandible reconstruction.

METHODS:  A retrospective review was performed for all patients who underwent oncologic mandible reconstruction with an FFF between 2000 and 2021. Completion of at least one postoperative FACE-Q questionnaire was necessary for inclusion. FACE-Q scores were divided into five time periods for analysis. Functional outcomes measured with speech language pathology (SLP) assessments and tracheostomy and gastrostomy tube status were analyzed at three time points.

RESULTS:  One hundred and nine patients were included. Of these, 68 patients also had at least one SLP assessment. All outcomes as measured by the various FACE-Q scales did not improve significantly from the immediate postoperative time point to the last evaluated time point (

CONCLUSION:  Subjective quality of life outcomes do not change significantly with time after oncologic FFF mandible reconstruction. Reconstructive surgeons can use these results to help patients establish appropriate and achievable quality of life goals after surgery. Further studies are warranted to elucidate the impact of specific relevant clinical variables on postoperative quality of life.




Medicine and Health Sciences




Fellows and Residents

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