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Semin Plast Surg. 2010 Aug;24(3):281-7. doi: 10.1055/s-0030-1263069.

Postoperative care and monitoring of the reconstructed head and neck patient.


Reconstruction of head and neck patients using free tissue transfer is perhaps the most challenging of areas in the human body. Although complications are inevitable in a percentage of patients, it is good postoperative care and monitoring that determines the success or failure of the reconstruction and also permits early salvage of a failing free flap. Teamwork and cooperation among members of the reconstructive team are critical. Here we review the significance of clinical care and monitoring of reconstructed head and neck patients in the intraoperative and postoperative periods. We also review different techniques and strategies for flap monitoring and anticoagulation used for free tissue transfers.


Free flap; implantable Doppler; monitoring; thrombosis

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