Internal Oblique-Iliac Crest Osteomyocutaneous Free Flap in Oromandibular Reconstruction

Internal Oblique-Iliac Crest Osteomyocutaneous Free Flap in Oromandibular Reconstruction


The iliac crest osteocutaneous flap, based on the deep circumflex iliac artery and vein (DCIA and DCIV), was a major innovation in oromandibular reconstruction and helped to revolutionize the approach to the management of oral cancers (1). The problem with this composite flap was related to the soft-tissue component, which was often too bulky and unreliable, especially when positioning the skin paddle in ways that threatened its normal anatomic relationship to the bone. Such demands on the skin paddle are frequent when reconstructing the three-dimensional geometry of the oral cavity and oropharynx. The internal oblique muscle, supplied by the ascending branch of the DCIA and DCIV, provides a broad sheet of thin, pliable, and well-vascularized soft tissue that enhances the versatility of the iliac donor site.


The DCIA and DCIV arise from the external iliac artery and vein within 1 to 2 cm above the inguinal ligament. Although the DCIV may run either deep or superficial to the external iliac artery, it always takes a cephalad turn, to enter the external iliac vein up to 3 cm above the junction of the DCIA and the external iliac artery. The DCIA and DCIV travel in a linear course toward the anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS), where they then assume a more curvilinear course along the inner table of the ilium. The pedicle is easily identified at the junction of the transversus abdominis and iliacus muscles, lying from 0.5 to 2.5 cm beneath the lip of the iliac crest (4). During its course, the deep circumflex pedicle gives rise to the ascending
branch, perforators to the ilium and the inner periosteum, and an array of cutaneous perforators that traverse the three muscles of the abdominal wall. These latter perforators exit the external oblique muscle in a zone that extends from the ASIS to a point about 9 cm lateral, where the DCIA terminates as a large cutaneous perforator. The key to ensuring the blood supply to the skin is to be certain to design the skin paddle over this zone of perforators and to harvest a cuff of the three muscle layers to maintain the integrity of these delicate vessels.

The ascending branch(es) of the DCIA and DCIV, which supply the internal oblique muscle, arise at any point from the external iliac vessels to the ASIS. Through cadaver dissections, it has been shown that the ascending branch arises within 1 cm medial to the ASIS in 65% of cases but has a more medial takeoff, from 2 to 4 cm medial to the ASIS, in 15% of cases. In the remaining cases, there is no single dominant ascending branch but rather an array of branches that supply the internal oblique muscle. Therefore, in roughly 80% of cases, the internal oblique muscle has an axial-pattern blood supply with a single dominant ascending branch (1, 5, 6, 7). Because of this axial pattern, the muscle can be maneuvered safely in virtually any direction relative to the bone to restore the anatomy of this region (6, 7).

Jun 26, 2016 | Posted by in General Surgery | Comments Off on Internal Oblique-Iliac Crest Osteomyocutaneous Free Flap in Oromandibular Reconstruction
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