Orocutaneous and pharyngocutaneous fistula closure using a vacuum-assisted closure system

Brian T. Andrews, Russell B. Smith, Henry T. Hoffman, Gerry F. Funk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Objectives: The vacuum-assisted closure (VAC) system is a topical negative pressure dressing that has been used extensively to manage a multitude of complicated wounds, including enterocutaneous fistula. We hypothesize that the VAC system may also facilitate the closure of orocutaneous and pharyngocutaneous fistulas. Methods: A retrospective chart review was performed. Results: Three patients were identified. Two patients developed fistulas after undergoing salvage laryngectomy, and 1 patient developed a fistula after having a hemiglossectomy defect reconstructed by a radial forearm free flap. The VAC system was successful in closing the fistula in 2 of the 3 patients. Complete fistula closure took 3 and 11 days in the 2 cases. The 1 failure of fistula closure was due to poor collapsibility of the neck tissue along the fistula tract caused by fibrosis following prior radiotherapy. Conclusions: The VAC system is a feasible treatment option for closing head and neck fistulas, especially when collapsible tissue is present at the fistula site.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)298-302
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2008


  • Fistula closure
  • Salivary leak
  • Topical negative pressure dressing
  • Vacuum-assisted closure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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