John N. Muller, Allison Diaz, Roberto L. Flores, David A. Staffenberg

Abbe Flap Division Before Two Weeks’ Time: Harmful or Advantageous?

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Oral Surgery

Introduction The Abbe flap is a standard intervention to treat upper lip deformities in patients with bilateral cleft lip. This two-stage procedure requires a 2 to 3-week period in which the superior and inferior lips remain connected. This study evaluates the safety of Abbe flap division and inset prior to 14 days’ time. Materials and Methods A single institution, 8-year review of all patients with a bilateral cleft lip who underwent Abbe flap reconstruction was performed. Patients were classified into two groups: those whom division was performed 14 days or later and those with division earlier than 14 days. Results A total of 26 patients were identified. Patients who underwent Abbe flap division in less than 14 days (n = 10) demonstrated an average time to division of 9.7 days (range 7–13 days) with no evidence of flap loss, wound breakdown or infection. Patients who underwent Abbe flap division within 14 days or more (n = 16) demonstrated an average time to division of 15 days with four minor complications and no flap loss. Conclusion Dividing the Abbe flap after the first postoperative week appears to be safe and without additional risk to flap loss or wound breakdown. A shorter time to Abbe flap division may decrease the burden of care on patients and their caregivers.

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