INTRODUCTION Defects in the lower lips after the excision of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) are usually repaired using several surgical techniques. However, the functional reconstruction of full-thickness defects in the lower lip remains a challenge. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to describe surgical strategies for the reconstruction of full-thickness defects of the lower lip after surgical excision of the SCC and evaluate the functional results.
METHODS: This was a retrospective study of all patients with full-thickness defects in the lower lip after excisions of SCC that were greater than one third of the lip that were repaired using the Bernard-Webster flap between 2011 and 2014. The functional results (sphincteric, motor and sensory function) were evaluated according to previously used criteria.
RESULTS: Six lip defects were reconstructed without complications using Bernard-Webster flaps. During the postoperative period, the patients reported liquid incontinence (16.67%), intermittent salivary incontinence (16.67%), and difficulty fully opening the mouth (33.33%). The tests revealed sensory deficits in the labiomental areas (100%) and lower lip (33.33%). There was full recovery of all functional changes an average of 3 months after surgery. The observed late functional results were considered satisfactory.
CONCLUSIONS: The Bernard-Webster flap was an excellent alternative to repairing the defects that affect more than one third of the lower lip since it allowed the use of similar local tissues, a single surgery could be performed, and the result was functionally efficient.
Keywords: Lower lip; Squamous cell carcinoma; Bernard-Webster flap.