Sinonasal Issues After Maxillectomy With Free Flap Reconstruction: Incidence and Clinical Approach

David K. Lerner, Andrey Filimonov, Peter Filip, Katherine Liu, Stephen Russell, Janki Shah, Todd Spock, Madeleine Schaberg, Anthony Del Signore, Patrick Colley, Satish Govindaraj, Mohemmed Nazir Khan, Alfred Marc Iloreta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: To characterize the clinical features associated with sinonasal complaints after maxillectomy with free flap reconstruction as well as propose a screening and treatment algorithm. Methods: Retrospective review of patients who underwent maxillectomy and free flap reconstruction at a tertiary care center. Results: Fifty-eight patients were included, 25 (43.1%) of them had documented sinonasal complaints postoperatively. Eleven patients subsequently underwent revision surgery for sinonasal complaints. Among the 25 patients with sinonasal complaints, 22 patients (88.0%) had nasal crusting, 17 (68.0%) had nasal obstruction, 12 (48.0%) had rhinorrhea, 9 (36.0%) had facial pain or pressure, and 7 (28.0%) had foul odor. Twenty-two patients (88.0%) had multiple sinonasal complaints. There was a higher incidence of both sinonasal complaints and surgical intervention in patients who underwent adjuvant radiation, but this was not statistically significant (47.7% vs 28.6%, P =.235; 29.4% vs 7.1%, P =.265). Conclusions: Sinonasal complaints are common following free flap reconstruction for a maxillectomy defect and should be screened for at postoperative visits, with early referral to a rhinologist for consideration of endoscopic sinus surgery. Nonsurgical treatment strategies include large-volume nasal saline irrigations, xylitol irrigations for persistent inflammatory symptoms, and culture-directed antibiotic irrigations for persistent infectious symptoms. Level of Evidence: 4 Laryngoscope, 132:67–72, 2022.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-72
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • endoscopic surgical procedure
  • free flap reconstruction
  • Maxillectomy
  • quality of life
  • sinusitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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