Tissue expansion in the reconstruction of Tessier craniofacial clefts: A series of 17 patients

Robert M. Menard*, Mark H. Moore, David J. David

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Tessier craniofacial clefts are among the most surgically challenging examples of craniofacial dysmorphology. These clefts are characterized by hypoplasia of soft-tissue and skeletal elements throughout the three- dimensional extent of the cleft. Whereas bone grafting and craniofacial osteotomies have been successful toward correcting the underlying skeletal abnormalities, the ultimate success of these reconstructions has been limited by the deficiency of skin and soft tissue. This deficiency demands reconstruction ideally with tissue of like texture, consistency, and, especially in the face, color. Craniofacial tissue expansion was used toward reconstructing these facial clefts with like-quality tissue, allowing for tension-free reconstruction after osteotomy and bone grafting. Seventeen patients with Tessier craniofacial clefts underwent preoperative craniofacial soft-tissue expansion in the surgical management of their clefts. Tissue expansion was used in the primary correction of facial clefts in eight patients, with nine patients undergoing expansion before secondary surgery. In this series, tissue expansion has evolved as an important element in overcoming the skin and soft-tissue deficiency associated with these clefts, allowing for tension-free closure and improved aesthetic results in these surgically challenging patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)779-786
Number of pages8
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1999
Externally publishedYes


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