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Plast Reconstr Surg. 2006 Mar;117(3):968-74.

Comparison of clinical and functional outcomes and hospital costs following pharyngoesophageal reconstruction with the anterolateral thigh free flap versus the jejunal flap.

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



Pharyngoesophageal defects are commonly reconstructed with free jejunal or fasciocutaneous flaps, with various outcomes, and a direct comparison is lacking.


Fifty-seven circumferential pharyngoesophageal reconstructions with an anterolateral thigh flap (n = 26 patients) performed by a single surgeon or jejunal flap (n = 31 patients) performed by six experienced surgeons between 1998 and 2004 were reviewed and outcomes were compared.


Total flap loss occurred in one (4 percent) and two (6 percent) patients, fistula rates were 8 percent and 3 percent, and stricture rates were 15 percent and 19 percent in the anterolateral thigh and jejunal flap groups, respectively (p > 0.5). A completely oral diet was achieved in 95 percent and 65 percent, and fluent tracheoesophageal speech was achieved in 89 percent and 22 percent of patients with the anterolateral thigh and jejunal flaps, respectively (p < 0.01). The mean lengths of postoperative ventilator support, intensive care unit stay, and hospital stay were 1.0 +/- 0.2, 1.7 +/- 1.0, and 8.0 +/- 3.7 days for the anterolateral thigh flap group and 2.2 +/- 3.0, 3.0 +/- 3.2, and 12.6 +/- 7.9 days for the jejunal flap group (p < 0.001 for all), respectively. Mean hospital charges per patient were $8694 and $12,651 for the anterolateral thigh and jejunal flap groups, respectively (p = 0.02).


With the limitations of comparing a single surgeon's results with those of multiple surgeons, the anterolateral thigh flap appears to offer better speech and swallowing functions and quicker recovery and to be more cost-effective than the jejunal flap for pharyngoesophageal reconstruction. The complication rates were similar.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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