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Head Neck. 2004 Sep;26(9):759-69.

Characteristics of the anterolateral thigh flap in a Western population and its application in head and neck reconstruction.

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  • 1Department of Plastic Surgery, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, FC-8.2000, 1400 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston 77030, USA.



Although the anterolateral thigh flap has been extensively used for head and neck reconstruction in Asia, reported variations of vascular anatomy seem confusing and may have contributed to the unpopularity of this flap in the United States. The purposes of this study are to classify the vascular anatomy and to assess the suitability of this flap for head and neck reconstruction in a Western population.


Seventy-two consecutive anterolateral thigh flaps for head and neck reconstruction was retrospectively reviewed.


The number of cutaneous perforators for the anterolateral thigh flap ranged from one to three. On the basis of their location and origin, a simple classification system is introduced to assist flap dissection. Of the 72 thighs explored, 68 flaps (94%) were raised successfully.


The vascular anatomy of the flap follows predictable patterns. The anterolateral thigh flap is well suited for head and neck reconstruction in Westerners.

Copyright 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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