Review of 346 patients with free-flap reconstruction following head and neck surgery for neoplasm

S. Podrecca, P. Salvatori, M. Squadrelli Saraceno, D. Fallahdar, L. Calabrese, G. Cantù, R. Molinari

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We present our 14-year experience of free tissue transfer following surgery for head and neck neoplasm. We evaluated 346 patients mean age 57 years, 65% had squamous cell carcinoma; the most frequent sites were oral cavity and mandible (168) craniomaxillo facial region (94) pharynx±cervical oesophagus and oropharyngostomes (84). In 327 (95%) cases the reconstruction was a success. Flap revision was necessary in 29 (8.4% of total) and recovery was successful in 10/29. Nine patients (2.6%) died perioperatively. Poor preoperative condition, previous treatment, and requirement for vein graft were significantly associated with increased risk of major complications after surgery. Co smetic and functional outcomes were assessed on 1-10 scales: 69 and 77% of patients, respectively, had cosmetic and functional results in the 7-10 range, indicating successful outcome. Overall survival probabilities, estimated on 338 patients with malignant disease, were 53% at 2 years and 32% at 5 years. Most patients, but not all, had advanced disease stage, and 188 (54%) had recurrent disease. Hence, overall survival rates are acceptable and justify the use of complex reconstruction procedures in such patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-129
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2006


  • Free flap
  • Head and neck neoplasm
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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