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imageBackground: The facial dismasking flap (FDF) approach to operations on the deep skull base region consists of a coronal incision and a circumpalpebral incision. This approach provides a wide surgical field for extirpation of deep extended craniofacial tumors without leaving any undesirable scars on the face. Therefore, the FDF approach can provide satisfactory esthetical and functional results. Meanwhile, in some cases, especially in patients with a history of skull base surgery or orbital extension, patients are not fully satisfied even when the FDF approach is used. In this study, we evaluated the indication for and limitation of the FDF approach.
Methods: We reviewed 26 patients who underwent the FDF approach for skull base surgery. The patients were 16 men and 10 women, and average age was 37 years. Of these patients, 21 were treated using a hemi-FDF approach, and the remaining 5 were subjected to a bilateral FDF approach. Patients were divided into 2 groups in this study: group A (11 patients), patients with no history of skull base surgery and orbital extension; and group B (15 patients), patients with a history of skull base surgery and/or orbital extension.
Results: There was no FDF loss or facial palsy in either group A or group B. In group A, there was no lagophthalmos or scar contracture of the eyelid. In group B, there were 5 cases (33%) of ectropion and lagophthalmos and 7 of eyelid scar contracture (46%). As for esthetical evaluation, group B showed a significantly higher rate of facial asymmetry than group A. Moreover, in group A, the total ratings for above average reached 90.9%, whereas in group B, nearly half of the patients (48.9%) gave ratings of fair and poor.
Conclusions: The FDF approach could be a good option for skull base surgery. In particular, patients without a history of skull base surgery and orbital extension could obtain satisfactory esthetical and functional outcomes. However, the procedure had limited effectiveness for patients with a history of skull base surgery or orbital extension because esthetical and functional outcomes inevitably became worse.

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