External monitor for buried free flaps in head and neck reconstructions.

R. Pellini, B. Pichi, P. Marchesi, G. Cristalli, A. Deganello, G. Spriano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Head and neck defects following oncological surgery must often be repaired with soft tissue and/or bone from other areas of the body. Significant loss of soft tissue requires flaps of sufficient bulk to adequately reconstruct the defect. Microvascular free tissue transfer is a good method for reconstructing even large defects following oncological surgery for head and neck cancer. Continuous post-operative monitoring of the perfusion of a free flap is vitally important to achieve not only a favourable outcome but also to decrease morbidity. Microvascular thrombosis occurs in 4% of the flaps and the best chance for flap salvage is offered by the earliest possible revision of the microanastomosis. Use of buried flaps in head and neck reconstruction makes monitoring particularly difficult and exteriorization of a segment of the flap permits a direct visualization. An original technique is presented for harvesting forearm free flaps with a secondary monitor skin paddle to externally check the status of the paddle and, when modified, can also be used for fibula and rectus abdominis flap.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalActa Otorhinolaryngologica Italica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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