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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 63-66

Application of buccal fat pad for lining of lateral defect in cleft palate repair and review of literature


Swiss Cleft and Craniofacial Centre, BSES MG Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Date of Web Publication2-Aug-2016

Correspondence Address:
Parit S Ladani
Swiss Cleft and Craniofacial Centre, BSES MG Hospital, S. V. Road, Andheri West, Opp. Andheri Railway Station, Mumbai - 400 058, Maharashtra
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2348-2125.187507

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  Abstract 

Purpose: To discuss the advantages of pedicle buccal fat pad flaps used to cover areas of exposed bone of the lateral hard palate. Patients and Methods: Fifty patients had buccal fat pad flaps used in cleft palate repair. Fat pad is filled into the lateral defect and sutured to palatal flap and gingiva without any tension over the midline suture of palatal flap. Results: No patients had any perioperative complication related to buccal fat pad or donor-site. In all cleft palate patients, the recipient areas fully epithelialized within 2 weeks or less. No patients had developed infection, loss of graft, palatal fistulas, or cheek depression. Conclusion: This technique allows safe, simple, durable, autologous, and vascularized coverage of the denuded bony hard palate.

Keywords: Buccal fat pad, cleft palate, lateral defect


How to cite this article:
Ladani PS, Sailer HF. Application of buccal fat pad for lining of lateral defect in cleft palate repair and review of literature. J Cleft Lip Palate Craniofac Anomal 2016;3:63-6

How to cite this URL:
Ladani PS, Sailer HF. Application of buccal fat pad for lining of lateral defect in cleft palate repair and review of literature. J Cleft Lip Palate Craniofac Anomal [serial online] 2016 [cited 2019 May 26];3:63-6. Available from: http://www.jclpca.org/text.asp?2016/3/2/63/187507


  Introduction Top


Clefting of the palate is one of the most common deformities in the craniofacial skeleton, with the birth prevalence of clefts is somewhere between 27,000 and 33,000 clefts/year in India. [1] Most of these children are referred to a surgeon for definitive repair; however, palatal fistulas and transverse growth restriction remain a significant problem for clinicians regardless of the center and type of repair. One of the suggested cause is the bones are denuded as a result of mucoperiosteal flaps transposition and the use of relaxing incisions and subsequent secondary healing and scaring. [2]

Only in the last quarter of this century has the buccal fat pad been used as a grafting source. In 1977, Egyedi [3] reported the use of the buccal fat pad as a pedicled graft in closing oronasal fistula. Neder, [4] in 1983, was the first to describe the use of the buccal fat pad as a free graft for intraoral defects. In separate articles Tideman et al. [5] and Loh and Loh [6] advanced the graft's utility when they reported that the presence of a split-thickness graft is not necessary for the survival of pedicled unlined fat pad grafts or for re-epithelialization. Although the use of buccal fat grafts to aid in definitive closure of oral antral and oral nasal communication defects has been well-documented, we describe a technique of cleft palate repair using pedicled buccal fat pad flaps as an added tissue layer.

We describe the use of the buccal fat pad flap in cleft palate repair coupled with pedicled buccal fat pad flaps to cover areas of exposed bone of the hard palate. We believe this technique may decrease scar contraction and subsequent transverse maxillary growth restriction induced by the lateral hard palatal tissue defect. Technically, minimal time, skill, and dissection are needed to harvest this robust flap, and we think cleft surgeons will find this useful for challenging cleft palate and palatal fistula repairs.


  Patients and methods Top


Fifty patients had buccal fat pad flaps used for cleft palate repairs performed by one surgeon at a single institution. All patients are between the age of 1 and 5 years. Of fifty patients, 34 are male and 16 female. Eleven patients were having bilateral cleft palate and 39 patients were having unilateral cleft palate [Table 1]. In all patients, palate was repaired with Bardach's two flap palatoplasty with intervelor veloplasty [Figure 1] in which the incision is made along the cleft margin and the alveolar margin. These are joined anteriorly to free the mucoperiosteal flaps. These flaps are based on the greater palatine vessels. The soft palate is repaired in a straight line. The levator palate muscle dissection and reconstruction of the muscle sling is performed as in intervelar veloplasty. Alveolar incision is extended behind tuberosity to access buccal fat pad. Cleft palate closer is done with the use of 4-0 vicryl suture with few intermittent suture passing through both oral and nasal later to reduce the dead space between both layers [Figure 2].
Figure 1: Preoperative photo: Incision marking and site for buccal fat pad harvest

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Figure 2: Lateral defect

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Table 1 : Type of cleft

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The buccal fat pad is a readily accessible mass. The superior limit of the fat pad lies along the height of the maxillary vestibule above the maxillary second molar and directly opposite Stenson's duct. The fat pad then travels laterally below the parotid duct to enter the cheek. Interiorly it is limited by the mandibular retromolar region. The main part of the buccal fat pad is located between the buccinator muscle medially and the anterior margin of the masseter muscle and the mandibular ramus and zygomatic arch laterally. The fat can be easily exposed through a horizontal incision just lateral to the maxillary tuberosity. Curved Iris scissor is used for blunt dissection through the superior constrictor and buccinators junction, the buccal fat pad will herniate into the oral cavity [Figure 3]. The body and buccal extension can be gently pedicled into the region lateral alveolar defect. Fat pad is filled into the defect and sutured to palatal flap and gingiva without any tension over the midline suture of palatal flap [Figure 4]. All patients were discharged on 2 nd postoperative day.
Figure 3: Buccal fat pad harvest

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Figure 4: Buccal fat pad inset

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  Results Top


Fifty patients underwent primary palate repair with the use of Bardach's two-flap palatoplasty with intervelor veloplasty technique and lining of lateral alveolar defect with buccal fat pad. Harvest and inset took 10 min/flap. No patients had complications related to buccal fat pad or donor-site, like bleeding, difficulty in harvesting, quantity of fat to cover the defect perioperatively. All patients were seen 2, 4, 12 weeks and 2 years postoperatively [Figure 5]. In all cleft palate patients, the recipient areas fully epithelialized within 2 weeks or less. No patients had developed infection, loss of graft, palatal fistulas, or cheek depression [Table 2].
Figure 5: Two years postoperative

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Table 2 : Perioperative and postoperative complication

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  Discussion Top


Cleft surgeons are constantly challenged by transverse width restriction of the maxillary arch and palatal fistulas after cleft surgery. Following cleft palate repair factors that might lead to hypoplasia and deformity of the maxilla include extensive dissection of the tissues and the healing of wounds by secondary intention. This is especially so after Bardach's two-flap palatoplasty, Von Langenbeck, Veau, Peet and Wardill methods, [7],[8],[9],[10] in which the bones are denuded as a result of mucoperiosteal flaps transposition and the use of relaxing incisions. As the result, the healing of the wounds occurs through granulation with subsequent, damaging effect of the postsurgical scars. [11],[12],[13],[14],[15],[16]

Large, unlined, denuded palatal shelves serve as a key nidus of scar contraction as the palatal tissues attempt to fill the dead space. We posit that an added layer of vascularized tissue (the buccal fat pad flap) functions to fill and line this open denuded space, increases vascularity to this area, and may thwart or even prevent significant wound contracture. [17] Most reports show that the buccal fat pad is a well-vascularized, easily accessible local flap that has long-term follow-up for intraoral reconstruction. [18],[19] Zhang et al. used buccal fat pads to fill the cleft palate relaxing incision as an experimental intervention, and used traditional iodoform gauze as a comparison reference. The results showed obvious differences in the maxillary growth of the two groups, with that of the experimental group being considerably improved compared with that of the control group, which was associated with a large scar area that formed after cleft palate surgery. The experimental group had a decreased area of palate scar tissue and, therefore, a reduced effect of the postoperative scar on maxillary growth. [20]

The fat pad consists of the main body with buccal, pterygoid, superficial, and deep temporal extensions. These extensions closely approximate other key structures, including the parotid duct and zygomatic and buccal branches of the facial nerve. The buccal fat effectively separates the surface of the masticatory muscles because of its extension medial to the ramus beneath the zygomatic arch and into the cheek. This specialized type of fat, known as syssarcosis, separates the muscle by providing a gliding surface. [21],[22] The vascular supply of the fat pad is an important consideration for its viability as a pedicled graft. Branches of the facial artery travel within the fat pad superiorly forming anastomosis to supply the buccal fat pad. Blood supply to the fat pad is also derived superficially from buccal and deep temporal branches of the internal maxillary artery. A branch of the superficial temporal artery, the middle temporal artery, supplies the superficial and temporal extensions of the fat pad. [23]

We prefer the buccal fat pad flap as it takes less time and requires less donor-site dissection. With regard to donor-site morbidity, no change in the hollowness of the child's cheeks was seen in this study. Anatomically, the buccal fat pad flap is composed of three independent lobes. [24] Our technique uses only a small amount of one lobe, making aesthetic alteration unlikely. The full buccal fat pad flap can cover an area of 10 cm 2 , whereas the area we are covering on average is 5 cm 2 . Even in studies in which surgeons have purposefully excised the entire buccal fat pad, results achieved were noted to be "subtle." [25] Thus, we believe that this flap has significant potential to function as an added vascularized tissue layer in cleft palate repair. We believe cleft surgeons should add this innovative technique to their armamentarium for wide cleft palate cases in which coverage of areas of denuded hard palatal bone, is of paramount importance.

Advantage of using buccal fat pad for palate repair are:

  • The buccal fat pad graft provides vascular coverage to both soft tissue layers and denuded bone thereby promoting rapid soft tissue healing and lack of scaring effect
  • The graft serves as a bed for secondary granulation thereby reducing dehiscence in the soft tissue layer
  • The fat pad physically aids in closure by obliterating dead space at the alveolar defect; and
  • The fat pad creates a soft tissue hydrophobic middle layer that acts as a barrier by virtue of the physiologic composition of adipose tissue.



  Conclusion Top


This report describes a technique for primary cleft palate repair using the buccal fat pad flap in conjunction with the Bardach's two-flap palatoplasty. This technique allows durable, autologous, and vascularized coverage of the denuded bony hard palate. However, long-term study is required to see the impact of this technique on maxillary growth. The buccal fat pad flap is simple and safe and has been used successfully in other intraoral reconstructions. We believe cleft surgeons should add this technique to their armamentarium for wide cleft palate cases in which coverage of denuded hard palate is of paramount importance.

Financial support and sponsorship

Cleft Children International, Switzerland.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
  References Top

1.
Mossey P, Little J. Addressing the challenges of cleft lip and palate research in India. Indian J Plast Surg 2009;42 Suppl:S9-18.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Rohrich RJ, Gosman AA. An update on the timing of hard palate closure: A critical long-term analysis. Plast Reconstr Surg 2004;113:350-2.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Egyedi P. Utilization of the buccal fat pad for closure of oro-antral and/or oro-nasal communications. J Maxillofac Surg 1977;5:241-4.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Neder A. Use of buccal fat pad for grafts. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol 1983;55:349-50.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Tideman H, Bosanquet A, Scott J. Use of the buccal fat pad as a pedicled graft. J Oral Maxillofac Surg 1986;44:435-40.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Loh FC, Loh HS. Use of the buccal fat pad for correction of intraoral defects: Report of cases. J Oral Maxillofac Surg 1991;49:413-6.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Von Langenbeck B. The uranoplasty by use of palatal mucoperiosteal flap. Langenbecks Arch Klin Chir 1861;2:205-87.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Veau V. Division Palatine. Paris: Masson et Cie; 1931.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Peet E. The Oxford technique of cleft palate repair. Plast Reconstr Surg 1961;28:282-94.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Wardill WE. The technique of operation for cleft palate. Br J Surg 1937;25:117.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Herfert O. Fundamental investigations into the problems related to cleft palate surgery. Br J Plast Surg 1958;11:97.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
Kremenak CR, Huffman WC, Olin WH. Growth of maxillae in dogs after palatal surgery. I. Cleft Palate J 1967;4:6-17.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.
Mazaheri M, Harding RL, Nanda S. The effect of surgery on maxillary growth and cleft width. Plast Reconstr Surg 1967;40:22-30.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
14.
Ross RB. Treatment variables affecting facial growth in complete unilateral cleft lip and palate. Part 6: Techniques of palate repair. Cleft Palate J 1987;24:64-77.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
15.
Wada T, Kremenak CR, Miyazaki T. Midfacial growth effects of surgical trauma to the area of the vomer in beagles. J Osaka Univ Dent Sch 1980;20:241-76.  Back to cited text no. 15
    
16.
Kobus KF. Cleft palate repair with the use of osmotic expanders: A preliminary report. J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg 2007;60:414-21.  Back to cited text no. 16
    
17.
Levi B, Kasten SJ, Buchman SR. Utilization of the buccal fat pad flap for congenital cleft palate repair. Plast Reconstr Surg 2009;123:1018-21.  Back to cited text no. 17
    
18.
Ramirez OM. Buccal fat pad pedicle flap for midface augmentation. Ann Plast Surg 1999;43:109-18.  Back to cited text no. 18
    
19.
Matarasso A. Buccal fat pad excision: Aesthetic improvement of the midface. Ann Plast Surg 1991;26:413-8.  Back to cited text no. 19
    
20.
Zhang M, Zhang X, Zheng C. Application of buccal fat pads in pack palate relaxing incisions on maxillary growth: A clinical study. Int J Clin Exp Med 2015;8:2689-92.  Back to cited text no. 20
    
21.
Stuzin JM, Wagstrom L, Kawamoto HK, Baker TJ, Wolfe SA. The anatomy and clinical applications of the buccal fat pad. Plast Reconstr Surg 1990;85:29-37.  Back to cited text no. 21
    
22.
Ortiz-Monasterio F, Caronni EP, Brown L. Discussion of craniosynostosis. Craniofac Surg 1985;1:307-14.  Back to cited text no. 22
    
23.
Hudson JW, Anderson JG, Russell RM Jr., Anderson N, Chambers K. Use of pedicled fat pad graft as an adjunct in the reconstruction of palatal cleft defects. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod 1995;80:24-7  Back to cited text no. 23
    
24.
Zhang HM, Yan YP, Qi KM, Wang JQ, Liu ZF. Anatomical structure of the buccal fat pad and its clinical adaptations. Plast Reconstr Surg 2002;109:2509-18.  Back to cited text no. 24
    
25.
Dubin B, Jackson IT, Halim A, Triplett WW, Ferreira M. Anatomy of the buccal fat pad and its clinical significance. Plast Reconstr Surg 1989;83:257-64.  Back to cited text no. 25
    


    Figures

  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5]
 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2]


This article has been cited by
1 Difficulty Index-Based Management of Palatal Fistula After Primary Cleft Palate Repair: An Institutional Experience
Shruthi Saralaya,Anil Kumar Desai,Niranjan Kumar
Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. 2018;
[Pubmed] | [DOI]



 

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