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J Craniofac Surg. 2011 Sep;22(5):1751-4. doi: 10.1097/SCS.0b013e31822e62e9.

Posterolateral skull base reconstruction using the supraclavicular artery island flap.

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Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.


The supraclavicular artery island (SAI) flap is a viable fasciocutaneous option for the reconstruction of head and neck defects. Although authors have reported success using SAI flaps for various reconstructive indications, concerns of a tenuous blood supply and distal ischemia have previously limited its use in the posterolateral skull base. This case series reports the outcomes of 5 consecutive patients receiving SAI flaps for posterolateral skull base reconstruction. All flaps were harvested in less than 1 hour with primary closure of all donor sites. A single patient developed superficial necrosis of the distal flap, which was repaired with a full-thickness skin graft. There were no other complications, and no donor site morbidity was observed. The SAI flap is an excellent option for the reconstruction of posterolateral skull base defects. The close color match, easy harvest within 1 hour, lack of microsurgical anastomosis, and absence of donor site morbidity support its continued utilization.

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