The maxillofacial region is exceptionally densely packed with vitally important physical and social functions, senses, complex normal anatomy. Major resections of tumours, or defects from major trauma or congenital defects often involve destruction of normal anatomy and carry significant functional impairments as a consequence of disease and/or treatment.

Historically, patients were left disease-free but mutilated and severely impaired functionally. Such dysfunction and deformity can have a major impact on a person’s quality of life. The disfigurement is often easily seen and associated with mental health issues, exacerbating an already difficult situation.

Surgical advances in head and neck reconstruction have resulted in major improvements in terms of outcomes and quality of life. Surgical advances have also established a progressive trend from unreconstructed deformities or grafted wounds to locoregional flaps, two-staged repairs and immediate microvascular reconstructive surgery.

Our section on reconstructive maxillofacial surgery explains and discusses the many different reconstructive techniques, the different classes of defects, and the reconstructive options for different defects.

Next section: Reconstruction