Background. Previously, the importance of providing skin for intraoral lining for full-thickness mucocutaneous defects has been emphasized. More recently, simple skin grafting of the intraoral portion of muscle flaps has been described. Methods. Six patients were evaluated who had full-thickness mucocutaneous defects reconstructed by means of free muscle flaps with skin grafting of the intraoral muscle surface. An illustrative case is provided. A technique of preplacing the skin graft on the muscle prior to microvascular transfer is described. Mucosal biopsies were performed at the reconstruction site. Results. All patients had complete take of the skin grafts. No fistulas occurred. Functional and esthetic results were satisfactory. Conclusions. The ideal candidate for this form of reconstruction is one in whom there is a large, full-thickness mucocutaneous defect. Preplacement of the skin graft reduces ischemia time, allows suturing of the skin graft to the muscle surface outside the narrow confines of the oral cavity, and enables placement of multiple quilting sutures that secure the graft against shear forces and so obviate the need for a start dressing.
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