BACKGROUND: Reconstruction in a vessel-depleted neck is challenging. The success rates can be markedly decreased because of unavailability of suitable recipient vessels. In order to obtain a reliable flow, recipient vessels away from the zone of fibrosis, radiation, or infection need to be explored. The aim of this report is to present our experience and clinical outcomes using the retrograde flow coming from the distal transverse cervical artery (TCA) as a source for arterial inflow for complex head and neck reconstruction in patients with a vessel-depleted neck.
METHODS: Between July 2010 and June 2016, nine patients with a vessel-depleted neck underwent secondary head and neck reconstruction using the retrograde TCA as recipient vessel for microanastomosis. The mean age was 49.6 years (range, 36 to 68 years). All patients had previous bilateral neck dissections and all, except one, had also received radiotherapy. Indications included neck contracture release (n = 3), oral (n = 1), mandibular (n = 3) and pharyngoesophageal (n = 2) reconstruction necessitating free anterolateral thigh (n = 3) and medial sural artery (n = 1) perforator flaps, fibula (n = 3) and ileocolon (n = 2) flaps respectively.
RESULTS: There was 100% flap survival rate with no re-exploration or any partial flap loss. One case of intra-operative arterial vasospasm at the anastomotic suture line was managed intra-operatively with vein graft interposition. There were no other complications or donor site morbidity during the follow-up period.
CONCLUSIONS: In a vessel-depleted neck, the reverse flow of the TCA may be a reliable option for complex secondary head and neck reconstruction in selected patients.
- Free Tissue Flaps/blood supply
- Head and Neck Neoplasms/pathology
- Middle Aged
- Neck Dissection
- Reconstructive Surgical Procedures
- Retrospective Studies
- Treatment Outcome