• Postoperative monitoring of the perfusion of a free flap used in head and neck reconstruction is vitally important in achieving a favorable outcome. There are a wide range of methods that have been advocated to assist in this surveillance. However, at this time, there is no one technique that is universally efficacious in detecting early arterial and venous occlusion. In our experience, the most reliable means of monitoring has been the clinical assessment of flap color, capillary refill, tissue turgor, and bleeding. To assess these parameters, a portion of the flap must be accessible for observation. When the defect is buried, as is often the case in head and neck reconstruction, flap design is critical to achieve a reliable external segment for monitoring. The methods for exteriorizing a well-vascularized portion of tissue in the most commonly used flaps are described.
(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1989;115:1447-1453)
Urken ML, Weinberg H, Vickery C, Buchbinder D, Biller HF. Free Flap Design in Head and Neck Reconstruction to Achieve an External Segment for Monitoring. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1989;115(12):1447-1453. doi:10.1001/archotol.1989.01860360049016