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September 1989

Microvascular Free Flap Reconstruction for Head and Neck Defects

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1989;115(9):1118-1120. doi:10.1001/archotol.1989.01860330108029

• In a three-year period, 53 microvascular free-tissue grafts were performed on 51 patients to repair defects following major head and neck ablative surgery or trauma. The vast majority were done at the time of tumor resection. The remainder were done as secondary operations after resection or injury. The choice of free flap was dictated by the reconstructive needs of the patient and donor site availability. Fifty-two (98%) of 53 free-tissue transfers were successful with one failure resulting from venous thrombosis. Complications were noted in 16 of 53 flaps. The majority of these complications were in flaps used to replace bony defects or oropharyngeal resections. Although free flaps may appear to be more risky than traditional forms of reconstruction, they offer the surgeon a greater spectrum of reconstructive options. Limitations of the use of free flaps result only from lack of technical skills and specialized equipment.

(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1989;115:1118-1120)