Author(s): Cigna E, Minni A, Barbaro M, Attanasio G, Sorvillo V,
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Abstract OBJECTIVES: The antero-lateral thigh flap (ALTF) has become one of the workhorses of reconstructive procedures of the head and neck. The cosmetic result of this flap is uncertain during the main reconstructive procedure, so free flap contouring in head and neck reconstruction following cancer ablation is usually performed at the end of therapy. To obtain an adequate symmetry of the flap a safe thinning during the primary inset or a secondary defatting may be performed. PATIENTS AND METHODS: The study includes 45 patients underwent reconstruction with ALTF for head and neck tumors. Patients were divided into two groups: Group 1 (20 patients underwent a primary thinning of the flap), Group 2 (25 patient underwent a secondary debulking of the flap). Patients were evaluated in terms of total number of cosmetic reconstruction procedures performed, hospital stay and aesthetic satisfaction. RESULTS: Epidemiological analysis showed an average age of 51 years old in patients. Patients were affected by squamous cell carcinoma in 33 cases. Within Group 1, 14 patients underwent surgery only once, 5 underwent surgery twice and one patient three times. In group 2, 8 patients underwent surgery once, 10 patients twice, 3 patients three times and 4 patients four times. Considering total of hospital stay, the average length of stay was 18.83 days in the group of patients subjected to primary debulking, versus 23.67 days in the group subjected to secondary defatting. CONCLUSIONS: The ALT flap is a safe and reliable free flap for head and neck reconstructive surgery. As showed in the study and in previous reports, the thinning of the flap is a safe procedure, without increasing the flap complications and allowing an immediate symmetry of the recipient site contour. Furthermore, ALTF thinning reduces major defatting revisions requiring general anesthesia and the total number of secondary procedures.
This article was published in Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci
and referenced in Reconstructive Surgery & Anaplastology