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Use of dermal-fat grafts in the post-oncological reconstructive surgery of atrophies in the zygomatic region: clinical evaluations in the patients undergone to previous radiation therapy

Francesco Inchingolo14, Marco Tatullo249*, Andrea Pacifici7, Marco Gargari8, Alessio D Inchingolo5, Angelo M Inchingolo6, Gianna Dipalma4, Massimo Marrelli49, Fabio M Abenavoli3 and Luciano Pacifici7

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Dental Sciences and Surgery, University of Bari, Bari, Italy

2 Department of Medical Biochemistry, Medical Biology and Physics, University of Bari, Bari, Italy

3 Department of “Head and Neck Diseases”, Hospital “Fatebenefratelli”, Rome, Italy

4 Department of Maxillofacial Surgery, Calabrodental, Crotone, Italy

5 School of Dentistry, University of Bari, Bari, Italy

6 Department of Surgical, Reconstructive and Diagnostic Sciences, University of Milano, Milan, Italy

7 Department of Stomatology and Maxillofacial Sciences, University of Rome "Sapienza", Rome, Italy

8 Department of Clinical Sciences and Translational Medicine, University of Rome "Tor Vergata", Rome, Italy

9 Tecnologica Research Institute, Regenerative Medicine Section, Street E. Fermi, Crotone, Italy

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Head & Face Medicine 2012, 8:33  doi:10.1186/1746-160X-8-33

Published: 5 December 2012



Grafting of autologous adipose tissue can be recommended in some cases of facial plastic surgery. Rhabdomyosarcoma is a type of cancer that can also affect the orbit. Enucleation of the eye can cause atrophy of the corresponding hemiface and decreased orbital growth.

Case report

We report a case of a female patient with a medical history of surgical enucleation of the right eyeball, who had received rhabdomyosarcoma radiation therapy in her youth. The patient presented with a depression in the right zygomatic region. We took a dermal-fat flap from the abdominal region, which had been previously treated.


The surgical outcome, 48 hours, and much clearly 31 days after the surgery, revealed that the right zygomatic region had returned to its proper anatomical shape, although there were still signs of postoperative edema.


Very damaged tissues, like those exposed to radiation therapy, are generally not suitable for grafting of adipose tissue.


In the described case, we achieved a technically and aesthetically satisfying result despite the patient's medical history involving several perplexities about the use of autologous dermal-fat tissues, because of prior radiation therapy exposure. The clinical case shows that even a region exposed to radiation therapy can be a valid receiving bed for dermal-fat grafting.

Dermal-fat grafts; Oncological surgery; Plastic surgery