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Revista Española de Cirugía Oral y Maxilofacial

versão On-line ISSN 2173-9161versão impressa ISSN 1130-0558


MERINO DOMINGO, Francisco et al. Effects of radiotherapy in fibular free flaps. Study of bone density and complications in irradiated fibular flaps vs no irradiated. Rev Esp Cirug Oral y Maxilofac [online]. 2019, vol.41, n.2, pp.61-67.  Epub 30-Mar-2020. ISSN 2173-9161.


The fibular flap is currently one of the most chosen techniques for the reconstruction of mandibular defects. Many of the patients reconstructed with this flap present oncological pathology that requires adjuvant treatment with radiotherapy. The adverse effects of radiotherapy on tissues are known, and can lead to osteoradionecrosis.

The aim of this study is to analyze the bone density of peroneal flaps in patients who have received radiotherapy against those who do not and their possible correlation with subsequent complications.

Material and methods:

We designed a retrospective study of the fibular flaps performed by our service from January 2011 to December 2016. The criteria for inclusion of patients was to have been reconstructed with a peroneal flap and have a control CT at 3 months after radiotherapy. Age, bone density, standard deviation and further complications were extracted. The extracted data was analyzed through the SAS (statistical Analisys System) Software.


61 patients were collected; the mean age was of 54.46 years. Of these 61 patients were excluded 11 by not presenting control TC, of the 50 patients remaining, 27 received adjuvant radiotherapy treatment (54 %) while 23 did not receive (46 %). In irradiated patients a high percentage (84.62 %) received high doses of radiotherapy (> 60 Gy). Statistically significant differences were found (P < 0.05) with respect to age and standard deviation of bone density of the remaining mandibular body, while in the rest of the parameters no statistical significant differences were found. Irradiated patients presented a higher percentage of complications compared to non-irradiated patients without statistically significant differences.


The new techniques of intensity-modulated radiotherapy allow a relatively uniform dose in a target, avoiding high doses in the circumcising tissues. Despite the progress in radiotherapy techniques, currently in most centers, it continues to perform a complete treatment of the volume of the tumor bed that includes in the field of irradiation the flap with which it is reconstructed. The cases of mandibular osteonecrosis that were presented were in irradiated patients and in the remaining mandible. Bone density at the level of the fibular flap showed statistically significant differences in irradiated patients compared to non-irradiated, this aspect may influence in the index of complications.


We consider to propose new prospective studies to assess the need to irradiate the bone tissue of the fibular flap as part of the volume of the tumor bed, knowing that this tissue has not been in contact with the primary tumor, and the high index of complications associated with radiotherapy.

Palavras-chave : Osteoradionecrosis; fibular flap; bone density.

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