Single-surgeon experience of 87 buccal mucosal graft harvests
Although buccal mucosa has been the preferred graft material for use in the reconstruction of anterior urethral strictures for approximately 20 years, the plastic surgery literature is lacking in studies describing and evaluating this technique. The authors sought to report their experience with the technique of buccal mucosa graft harvest for use in urethral reconstruction. The authors identified 87 consecutive patients who underwent buccal mucosal graft harvesting during a 15-year period from 1995 to 2010. All donor sites were closed primarily. Preoperatively, a specialty-specific evaluation was performed by plastic surgeons and urologists. Postoperative donor-site morbidity was followed clinically. Eighty-seven patients underwent buccal harvesting. A single buccal graft was harvested in 75 patients (86.2 percent) and bilateral grafts were harvested in 12 patients (13.8 percent). The median patient age of the patients was 42 years (range, 16 to 78 years). There were no major intraoperative or postoperative complications. Minor complications included mild discomfort, numbness, cheek swelling, and restriction of oral movement, all of which resolved by the 3-month postoperative visit. The ability to eat and drink postoperatively was diminished during only the first 24 to 48 hours in all patients. Our series provides a 1-year follow-up in a substantial cohort looking at clinical outcomes after buccal harvesting. These results confirm the safety and efficacy of buccal mucosal harvesting to provide an effective and cosmetically superior option for urethral reconstruction. CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic, IV.