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Br J Plast Surg. 2004 Sep;57(6):556-60.

Factors influencing the development of wound infection following free-flap reconstruction for intra-oral cancer.

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Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne NE1 4LP, UK.


Wound infection following tissue transfer in head and neck oncology is common. Factors known to be associated with infective complications include blood transfusion, pre-operative radiotherapy, duration of surgery, duration of pre-operative stay and a history of smoking. The present study specifically examined 100 consecutive patients on a standard antibiotic protocol undergoing free flap reconstruction following resection of cancers of the oral cavity or oropharynx. Despite prophylactic antibiotics, 21 patients developed a head and neck wound infection. No statistically significant association was found between infective wound complications and a history of smoking, pre-operative radiotherapy or chemotherapy, length of pre-operative hospital stay, duration of surgery, or number of units of blood transfused. We conclude that, in this group of patients, wound infection is a common and difficult problem, but with no statistically significant association with any of the variables studied.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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