Technological progress in reconstructive surgery, in particular the use of pedunculated or free flaps, has given new impetus to head and neck dissection. This stems from the fact that such techniques provide greater oncological radicality, reduce the number of severe post-operative complications and give better quality of life. The present study examines 154 patients suffering from upper aero-digestive tract neoplasms (131 males and 23 females; age range 23-82 years) who had undergone radical surgery. Reconstruction was performed with flaps in 154 cases: 119 pedunculated flaps (102 large myocutaneous pectoral and 17 temporal muscle flaps) and 35 free flaps (18 radial osteofasciocutaneous, 13 radial fasciocutaneous and 4 omentum flaps). Analysis of the individual districts showed that the flap of choice was the temporal muscle flap when surgery involved the soft parts of the orbital-maxilly-zigomatic area and the rhinopharynx. This is because it is highly moldable and reliable. In surgery of the oral cavity and oropharynx the grand pectoral flap is most frequently used as it provides enough tissue for the reconstruction, adequately protects the vascular-nerve axis in the neck and it is quick and easy. However, the functional results are not the best and there is some alteration in the initial phases of deglutition. To reduce these problems, the authors encourage the use of free flaps which provide good results from both the functional and esthetic points of view. They are, however, more difficult to perform and this leads the authors to conclude that they should only be selected for certain patients (long life expectancy, female, young, etc.). In the center where the authors work the flap of choice is the radial fasciocutaneous or osteofasciocutaneous flap. In surgery of the hypopharynx and larynx reconstruction is normally performed with a grand pectoral myocutaneous flap, sculpted as needed for the individual case. In this region, reconstruction proves functionally satisfactory even when there is a minimum of residual mucosa. Finally, for reconstructive surgery of the apex, the omentum free flap was used as it is malleable and can be used to reconstruct broad areas of dissection. The esthetic and functional results, the low incidence of complications and the greater quality of life suggest that this type of flap be extended to the surgery of locally advanced tumors in combination with an accurate, valid reconstructive solution.
|Translated title of the contribution||Reconstructive strategies in head and neck cancer: case history review from 1992 to 1997 (154 cases)|
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Acta Otorhinolaryngologica Italica|
|Publication status||Published - Aug 1998|
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