Buccal fat pad as a sealant in palatal mucosa tearing: technical note

Published:September 05, 2022DOI:


      For patients with a dentofacial deformity undergoing a planned segmentation of the maxilla for the management of a transverse maxillary arch discrepancy, palatal mucosa tearing may occur during sawing or palatal expansion traction, giving rise to an oronasal communication. This technical note describes the covering of a tear in the palatal mucosa using a buccal fat pad (BFP) flap, in the context of maxillary segmentation during Le Fort I osteotomy. Through the limited buccal incision used for the Le Fort I osteotomy, a small incision is made in the right periosteum posteriorly, and a supraperiosteal dissection is performed to access the BFP. After a sufficient amount of flap is made available, it is gently introduced through the osteotomy gap until it reaches the palatal mucosa defect and is then sutured. In the patient case presented, the palatal mucosa healed fully within 18 days, and the patient reported no nasal regurgitation of food, defective speech, fetid odour, bad taste, or upper respiratory tract or ear infection during the postoperative period. This technique using a BFP flap should therefore be considered in the context of unexpected tearing of the palatal mucosa in patients undergoing a segmented Le Fort I osteotomy.


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