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Eur J Surg Oncol. 2006 Apr;32(3):335-9. Epub 2006 Feb 8.

Free flap reconstruction in the treatment of tumors involving the hard palate.

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Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Institute Gustave Roussy, 39 Avenue Camille Desmoulins, 94805 Villejuif Cedex, France.



To report our experience in free flap reconstruction of the hard palate after malignant tumor resection, in terms of reconstruction method, immediate post-operative course and subjective functional results.


Files from 1988 to 1999 were reviewed for patients having undergone microvascular reconstruction of the hard palate. The immediate post-operative course (during the first month) was reviewed to determine the occurrence of complications. The surgeon's evaluation 1 year post-operatively was used to determine the intelligibility of speech, type of diet and the quality of nasal permeability.


Thirty eight patients (28 men and 10 women) with malignant tumors involving the hard palate had undergone surgical reconstruction using microvascular free flap techniques: free radial forearm flap (13 cases), scapular flap (24 cases) or fibular flap (five cases). Two different flaps were employed in two cases (scapula plus fibula). A second flap was used with success in two cases of failure of the first flap, for a total of 42 free flaps for 38 patients. Complications occurred in seven cases, with two cases of flap necrosis. At 1 year, 33 patients achieved a normal diet and 35 normal or easily intelligible speech.


Microsurgical reconstruction using free tissue transfer allows reconstruction of large defects of the hard palate, with low morbidity and an excellent functional outcome. We propose criteria for free flap reconstruction and choice of flap.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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