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Minerva Chirurgica 2003 June;58(3):369-74

language: Italian

Free anterolateral thigh flap for reconstruction of head and neck defects: preliminary results and a comparison with the radial forearm flap

Ribuffo D., Tenna S., Chiummariello S., Cigna E., Fioramonti P., Minni A., Scuderi N.


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Background. The authors present their personal preliminary experience with the free anterolateral thigh flap in the reconstruction of head and neck defects and compare these first cases with the radial forearm flaps.
Methods. Seventeen patients undergoing free flap reconstruction between December 1998 and September 2001 have been selected for this retrospective study and evaluated. In fourteeen patients reconstruction was performed with a radial forearm flap. In three patients an anterolateral thigh flap was used. Six dissections on cadavers have also been performed in order to study the anatomical variations of the perforators of the lateral circumflex femoral system.
Results. All flaps survived, without any major vascular impairment.
Conclusions. Despite a laborious dissection of the pedicle the anterolateral thigh is a versatile flap, with a minimal morbidity of the donor area. Even if the radial forearm is overall accepted as the gold standard for head and neck reconstruction, the anterolateral thigh flap is suggested as a good and safe surgical option, especially when a large flap is requested or in female patients concerned with the cosmetic result in the forearm donor area.

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