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Am J Surg. 1992 Dec;164(6):615-8.

Comparison of the rectus abdominis free flap with the pectoralis major myocutaneous flap for reconstructions in the head and neck.

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Department of Reconstructive and Plastic Surgery, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston 77030.


The pectoralis major myocutaneous flap (PMMF) is often used in the reconstruction of large head and neck defects. Unfortunately, its use is associated with a high incidence of minor complications, can distort the contour of the neck, and may cause significant donor site deformity, especially in women. This study compared 30 patients with major head and neck cancer-related defects who underwent reconstruction with a rectus abdominis free flap (RAFF) with 39 patients with similar defects who underwent reconstruction with the PMMF. The complication rate found in the RAFF group (13%) was significantly lower than that found in the PMMF group (44%; p = 0.0145). Flap necrosis was found in 10% of the PMMF group, whereas none was found in the RAFF group. The aesthetic outcome was also better in patients who had reconstructions with the RAFF. We conclude that, for most major head and neck defects, reconstruction methods that utilize the RAFF and other free tissue transfer techniques are preferable when the requisite equipment and expertise are available.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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