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March 1987

The Trapezius Myocutaneous Flap: Dependability and Limitations

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Head and Neck Surgical Oncology, Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City (Drs Netterville and Maves), and the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, University of Chicago Medical Center (Dr Panje).

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1987;113(3):271-281. doi:10.1001/archotol.1987.01860030047006

• Many reports of the trapezius myocutaneous flap have centered on a single form of the flap. However, three distinct myocutaneous segments, the superior, the lateral island, and the extended island flaps, can be harvested from the trapezius muscle and its overlying skin. Fifty-five patients underwent reconstruction for head and neck defects using 56 trapezius myocutaneous flaps consisting of 28 superior, 24 lateral island, and four extended island flaps. The four vascular supplies of the trapezius muscle are discussed, with emphasis on the variable nature of the transverse cervical and dorsal scapular arteries. Major complications developed in two of 28 superior, five of 24 lateral island, and one of four extended island flaps. The superior flap, although the most dependable, has the most limited range of application. Both the lateral and extended island flaps have a broader range of clinical application, but their usefulness may be limited by previous neck surgery or occult neoplasm in the neck, as well as by the variable vascular supply. Due to the above limitations, 30% of our attempts to utilize the lateral island flap had to be aborted at the time of surgery and an alternate means of reconstruction used. The trapezius myocutaneous flaps are excellent reconstructive tools for selected defects.

(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 1987;113:271-281)

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