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Plast Reconstr Surg. 1991 Aug;88(2):259-63.

Microsurgical free-tissue transfer in the elderly patient.

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Division of Plastic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, Pa.


During the 5-year period from July of 1984 to July of 1989, we performed 94 free-tissue transfers in 92 patients over the age of 50 whom we arbitrarily defined as "elderly." There were 32 patients in the age range between 50 and 59 years, 40 patients aged between 60 and 69 years, and 20 patients aged between 70 and 79 years. Seventy-one flaps were utilized for head and neck reconstruction, and 23 flaps were used in reconstruction of the trunk and extremities. There was 1 total flap loss, for a flap viability rate of 99 percent (93 of 94). Postoperative complications were classified into surgical (technical) and medical categories. There were 14 major surgical complications (15 percent) and 13 significant postoperative medical problems (14 percent). The majority of these complications occurred in head and neck cancer patients in the age group between 60 and 69 years, who had significant underlying medical problems and were preoperatively classified as ASA 3. There were 5 postoperative deaths, for a mortality rate of 5.4 percent (5 of 92 patients).

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