The role of tissue expansion in the management of large congenital pigmented nevi of the forehead in the pediatric patient.

Abstract

The authors present a cohort of 21 consecutive patients who had congenital pigmented nevi covering 15 to 65 percent of the forehead and adjacent scalp and who were treated at their institution within the last 12 years. All patients were treated with an expansion of the adjacent texture- and color-matched skin as the primary modality of treatment. The median age at presentation was approximately 1 year; mean postoperative follow-up was 4 years. Nevi were classified according to the predominant anatomic areas they occupied (temporal, hemiforehead, and midforehead/central); some of the lesions involved more than one aesthetic subunit. The authors propose the following guidelines: (1) Midforehead nevi are best treated using an expansion of bilateral normal forehead segments and advancement of the flaps medially, with scars placed along the brow and at or posterior to the hairline. (2) Hemiforehead nevi often require serial expansion of the uninvolved half of the forehead to minimize the need for a back-cut to release the advancing flap. (3) Nevi of the supraorbital and temporal forehead are preferentially treated with a transposition of a portion of the expanded normal skin medial to the nevus. (4) When the temporal scalp is minimally involved with nevus, the parietal scalp can be expanded and advanced to create the new hairline. When the temporoparietal scalp is also involved with nevus, a transposition flap (actually a combined advancement and transposition flap because the base of the pedicle moves forward as well) provides the optimal hair direction for the temporal hairline and allows significantly greater movement of the expanded flap, thereby minimizing the need for serial expansion. (5) Once the brow is significantly elevated on either the ipsilateral or contralateral side from the reconstruction, it can only be returned to the preoperative position with the interposition of additional, non-hair-bearing forehead skin. Expansion of the deficient area alone will not reliably lower the brow once a skin deficiency exists. (6) In general, one should always use the largest expander possible beneath the uninvolved forehead skin, occasionally even carrying the expander under the lesion. Expanders are often overexpanded.

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