Background: For head and neck reconstructive procedures, free flap survival depends on microsurgical and anatomical choices besides multimodal clinical management. The aim of the present study is to identify relevant variables for flap survival in our initial consecutive series. Methods: A single-center, novel reconstructive team consecutive surgical series was revised. The outcome was analyzed in terms of flap survival observing variables considered more relevant: flap type, recipient artery, vein(s), and graft interposition were discussed for facial thirds to be reconstructed. Statistical analysis was performed with Chi-square, Mann-Whitney, and Odds ratio. Results: A total of 118 free flaps were performed in 115 microsurgical procedures (93.9% for malignancies) on 109 patients, with a flap survival rate of 91.5%. For reconstruction of the middle and lower third of the face, the facial artery was privileged, because it was already transected during lymph node dissection in order to save the superior thyroid artery for further microsurgical needs. Flap failure was 50% venous. Double vein anastomosis was not related to flap survival. Deep venous drainage (as the internal jugular vein system) required fewer revisions. Half of the re-explorations saved the flap. Grafts were a risk for flap survival. Bony flaps were more critical. Conclusion: At comparable reconstructive quality, flap choice should avoid a vascular graft. The facial artery is a preferable recipient vessel, since it saves other arteries both in the case of an arterial revision and in the case of recurrence, for further free flap reconstruction. For venous anastomosis, a deep venous recipient is safer, since it offers the possibility to choose the level of anastomosis optimizing the vascular pedicle geometry. A close postsurgical flap monitoring is advisable up to 7 days postoperatively to allow for timely flap salvage.

Optimization of Vascular Supply in Free Flaps for Head and Neck Reconstruction: Analysis of a Young Team's Experience

Paolo Iacoviello;Susanna Bacigaluppi;Simone Callegari;Giuseppe Signorini;Giuseppe Verrina
2022-01-01

Abstract

Background: For head and neck reconstructive procedures, free flap survival depends on microsurgical and anatomical choices besides multimodal clinical management. The aim of the present study is to identify relevant variables for flap survival in our initial consecutive series. Methods: A single-center, novel reconstructive team consecutive surgical series was revised. The outcome was analyzed in terms of flap survival observing variables considered more relevant: flap type, recipient artery, vein(s), and graft interposition were discussed for facial thirds to be reconstructed. Statistical analysis was performed with Chi-square, Mann-Whitney, and Odds ratio. Results: A total of 118 free flaps were performed in 115 microsurgical procedures (93.9% for malignancies) on 109 patients, with a flap survival rate of 91.5%. For reconstruction of the middle and lower third of the face, the facial artery was privileged, because it was already transected during lymph node dissection in order to save the superior thyroid artery for further microsurgical needs. Flap failure was 50% venous. Double vein anastomosis was not related to flap survival. Deep venous drainage (as the internal jugular vein system) required fewer revisions. Half of the re-explorations saved the flap. Grafts were a risk for flap survival. Bony flaps were more critical. Conclusion: At comparable reconstructive quality, flap choice should avoid a vascular graft. The facial artery is a preferable recipient vessel, since it saves other arteries both in the case of an arterial revision and in the case of recurrence, for further free flap reconstruction. For venous anastomosis, a deep venous recipient is safer, since it offers the possibility to choose the level of anastomosis optimizing the vascular pedicle geometry. A close postsurgical flap monitoring is advisable up to 7 days postoperatively to allow for timely flap salvage.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/1104693
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