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Plast Reconstr Surg. 2009 Jul;124(1):115-23. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e3181aa0e5d.

Supraclavicular artery island flap for head and neck oncologic reconstruction: indications, complications, and outcomes.

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Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Tulane Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, La 70112, USA.



The supraclavicular island flap has been used successfully for difficult facial reconstruction cases, providing acceptable results without using microsurgical techniques. The authors use this regional flap in reconstructing various head and neck oncologic defects that normally require traditional regional or free flaps to repair surgical wounds.


A pedicled supraclavicular artery flap was used to reconstruct head/neck oncologic defects. Complications and functional outcomes were assessed.


Head and neck oncologic patients underwent tumor resection followed by immediate reconstruction using a supraclavicular artery island flap. Ablative defects included neck, tracheal-stomal, mandible, parotid, and pharyngeal walls. All flaps (n = 18) were harvested in less than 1 hour. All ablative wounds and donor sites were closed primarily and did not require additional surgery. Major complications included a complete flap loss when the vascular pedicle was inadvertently divided and pharyngeal leaks. The leaks resolved without surgical intervention, and both patients regained the ability to swallow using their neo-esophagus. Minor complications included donor-site wound dehiscence and cellulitis. None of the patients reported functional donor-site morbidity.


This thin flap is easy and quick to harvest, has a reliable pedicle, and has minimal donor-site morbidity. It is now the authors' flap of choice for many common head and neck reconstructive problems. Early experience using the supraclavicular artery island flap suggests that it is an excellent flap option for head and neck oncologic disease patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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