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Tongue reconstruction: recent advances.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of California-San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.



To examine the recent literature concerning advances in tongue reconstruction after tumor resection.


Reconstruction following resection of malignant tongue tumors remains one of the most difficult problems in head and neck oncology. Recent trends in tongue reconstruction have focused on optimizing speech and swallowing function and maximizing quality of life. In the recent literature, several new reconstructive strategies including omohyoid musculocutaneous and myofascial flaps overlayed with radial forearm free flaps have been described. In addition, several older reconstructive options, such as trapezius and pectoralis rotational flaps, have been revisited. There has also been a trend toward restoring innervation to these flaps rather than leaving them insensate.


Tongue cancer resection and subsequent reconstruction pose interesting challenges to the surgeon to maximize postoperative function and quality of life. Attention to the principles of tongue reconstruction and knowledge of the range of available reconstructive options can result in more favorable functional outcomes.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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