Free flap reconstruction of the head and neck region: a series of 127 flaps performed by otolaryngologists
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CitationBaşaran, B., Ünsaler, S., Kesimli, M. C., & Aslan, İ. (2021). Free Flap Reconstruction of the Head and Neck Region: A Series of 127 Flaps Performed by Otolaryngologists. Arch Otorhinolaryngol, 59(2), 103-10.
Objective: To determine flap success rate and complications in patients who underwent microvascular free tissue reconstruction after major head and neck ablative surgery and to report the improvement in the results. Methods: Medical records of 124 patients who were operated on in 2012 to 2019 were retrospectively reviewed. Indications for different free flap types, success rates and re-exploration rates, donor site morbidities, and reasons for flap loss were analyzed. Patients were divided into two groups to identify the effects of the anticoagulant and the antiaggregant treatments on postoperative results. Results: There were 127 flaps in 124 patients, including two different free flaps each in three patients that were harvested and used in the same surgical session. Of the total 127 flaps, 82 (64.6%) were radial forearm flaps, 39 (30.7%) were fibula flaps, and 6 (4.7) were rectus abdominis flaps. Four patients were re-explored for flap perfusion problems, and 18 patients were re-explored for hematoma drainage (n=22/124, %17.3). The rate of hematoma and re-exploration was higher in patients who received anticoagulant and antiaggregant treatments synchronously (p=0.02). Three flaps were lost, and the overall success rate was 97.6%. Two patients died from perioperative complications. No major complications were observed at the donor site; minor complications were observed in 30 patients. Conclusion: The success rate for the 127 flaps in 124 patients were found comparable to those reported in the literature. These results show that successful outcomes can be achieved with experience and a head and neck team dedicated to improving the results in microsurgical reconstruction, and flap failure rarely occurs if perioperative care of the patients is given meticulously.