Lateral thigh free flap for head and neck reconstruction

Richard E. Hayden, Daniel G. Deschler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Objectives: To present the technique of lateral thigh free flap reconstruction in the head and neck and review the use of this procedure in 58 head and neck defect reconstructions. Study Design: Retrospective review in the setting of a tertiary, referral, and academic center. Methods: Retrospective review of patient records in cases of lateral thigh free flap reconstruction for head and neck defects. Records were reviewed for patient age, gender, pathologic findings, type of reconstruction (pharyngoesophageal, glossectomy, oropharyngeal, or external soft tissue defects), recipient and donor-site complications, and flap failure. Results: Fifty-eight patients underwent lateral thigh flap reconstruction from 1984 to 1997. Patient age ranged from 10 to 76 years. Thirty-nine patients were men, and 19 were women. Forty-three flaps were used for pharyngoesophageal reconstruction, nine for glossectomy defects, two for oropharyngeal defects, and four for external, soft tissue defects. All resections were for squamous cell carcinoma, except one case of recurrent hemangiopericytoma. One flap failure occurred from venous thrombosis (1.7%). Forty-two of 43 pharyngoesophageal defects were successfully reconstructed (97.6%). Five temporary salivary leaks were noted, but no frank fistulas occurred. One fistula occurred in the oropharyngeal reconstruction group. Four minor donor-site complications were noted (6.9%). Conclusion: This series demonstrates the low donor-site morbidity, as well as the reliability and versatility, of the lateral thigh free flap for head and neck reconstruction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1490-1494
Number of pages5
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 1999


  • Head and neck reconstruction
  • Lateral thigh flap
  • Microvascular
  • Pharyngoesophagus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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