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Am J Surg. 1991 Oct;162(4):404-7.

Influence of radiotherapy on microvascular reconstruction in the head and neck region.

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Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, University of California San Francisco.


Over a 5-year period at the University of California San Francisco, 42 patients who required microvascular reconstruction for abnormalities in the head and neck area were identified. Twenty-four patients (Group I) underwent reconstruction for a variety of neoplastic and non-neoplastic conditions and did not receive radiotherapy. Eighteen patients (Group II) had undergone previous radiotherapy averaging 6,090 rads. The mean ages for Group I and II patients were 40.7 and 55.5 years, respectively. In Group I, 13 muscle, 7 fasciocutaneous, 4 osteocutaneous, and 2 jejunal transfers were performed. In Group II, 11 muscle, 5 fasciocutaneous, 3 osteocutaneous, and 2 jejunal transfers were performed. Flap survival at 3 months was 88% in Group I and 95% in Group II. Wound complication rates were similar in both groups (15% Group I, 19% Group II), as was donor site morbidity (15% Group I, 29% Group II). Operative times (10.9 hours Group I, 10.6 hours Group II) and median postoperative hospitalization (14 days Group I, 16 days Group II) were comparable as well. Four of the five patients in whom the flap procedures failed were subsequently treated by a second microvascular reconstruction. Previous irradiation of the recipient bed did not appear to affect the success of subsequent microvascular reconstruction or the difficulty of such reconstruction as judged by operative time.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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