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OBJECTIVE: To describe our modifications to the submental island flap (SMIF) in a case series that demonstrates improved reproducibility, shortened length of stay (LOS), and reduced utilization of hospital resources.

STUDY DESIGN: This retrospective case series with chart review included adult patients who underwent resection of malignant or benign tumors resulting in lateral facial, parotid, or temporal bone defects, which were reconstructed with SMIF.

SETTING: A tertiary-care academic referral center.

METHODS: Retrospective case series included all adult patients who underwent SMIF reconstruction between March 2020 and August 2021. Patient demographic and clinical data were collected. Primary outcomes were measures of hospital utilization including duration of surgery, LOS, and postoperative outcomes.

RESULTS: Twenty-eight patients were included with a mean age of 71.7 years. Eighty percent were male. All patients underwent parotidectomy, and the mean operative time was 347 minutes. The median LOS was 2.5 days (range 0-16 days). Seventy-five percent of the flaps drained into the internal jugular vein, and 25% drained into the external jugular vein. No patients required reoperation or readmission. All flaps survived.

CONCLUSION: SMIFs are a safe and effective option for reconstruction of lateral facial, parotid, and temporal bone defects. Compared to free flap reconstruction, SMIFs offer reduced length of surgery, decreased use of health care resources, and lower rate of reoperation. As health care resource allocation is increasingly important, the SMIF offers an excellent alternative to free flap reconstruction of lateral defects.


COVID‐19, lateral facial, mastoidectomy, parotid, reconstruction, regional flap, submental island flap, temporal bone



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