Utilization of free tissue transfer in head and neck surgery

Russell B. Smith, Joseph C. Sniezek, Donald T. Weed, Mark K. Wax

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Objective: Free tissue transfer is frequently incorporated into the reconstructive algorithm for a multitude of defects in the head and neck. With the increasing usage of free tissue transfer we undertook to review the most current advances in the field. Data Sources: PubMed search of all pertinent articles as they related to oropharyngeal reconstruction, flap choice, new technologies and techniques, and outcomes. Articles were chosen based on reviewer selection. Methods: The microvascular committee met and discussed the current important topics in free tissue transfer. A priority list was created and ranked. Topics were assigned to the authors who conducted a narrative review of the literature. Results: Free tissue transfer has evolved to the point where a limited number of specific flaps are now utilized for most defects. Composite tissue is used to reconstruct composite defects. The coupling device and implantable Doppler are demonstrating a positive impact on flap survival and efficiency. Finally, outcomes in terms of quality of life, swallowing, and return to function have been shown to improve with the use of free tissue transfer. Conclusion: Free tissue transfer continues to be the reconstructive modality of choice for head and neck defects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-191
Number of pages10
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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