Mini-plate versus reconstruction bar fixation for oncologic mandibular reconstruction with free fibula flaps: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Document Type

Review Article


Medical College Pakistan


Introduction There is currently no consensus as to the comparative complication profiles of mini-plate (MP) and reconstruction bar (RB) osseous fixation in fibula flap mandibular reconstruction. The aim of this study is to compare complication rates associated with the use of MP versus RB fixation for vascularized fibula free flap (FFF) reconstruction of oncologic mandibular defects in an effort to better guide hardware utilization and pre-operative virtual surgical planning methods. Methods A systematic review and meta-analysis was performed according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library databases were queried to identify studies related to FFF-based mandibular reconstruction with either MP or RB fixation. Primary endpoints of interest were plate complications, wound infection, mal- or non-union, and total flap loss. Complication rates were calculated as weighted proportions and compared via Fisher's exact testing. Results Sixteen studies met inclusion criteria, which examined 1,513 patients. Only three studies directly compared MP fixation with RB fixation. MP fixation was used in 828 (54.7%) cases and RB fixation in 685 (45.3%) cases. MP fixation demonstrated greater rates of plate-related complications (32.5% versus 18.8%, p < 0.01, respectively), fistula formation (15.8% versus 4.7%, p = 0.04), total flap loss (9.4% versus 4.7%, p = 0.02), partial flap loss (20.6% versus 6.1%, p < 0.01), and re-operation for vascular compromise (13.3% versus 4.0%, p < 0.01). Rates of infection, mal-union/non-union, and wound dehiscence were similar across both groups. Conclusion Our results suggest that MP use may be associated with higher rates of plate-related complications. Though limited by outcome reporting heterogeneity, this review can serve as a template for future investigations evaluating the safety profiles of MP and RB fixation in head and neck surgery.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of plastic, reconstructive & aesthetic surgery : JPRAS