KUMJ | VOL. 21 | NO. 3 | ISSUE 83 | JULY-SEPTEMBER. 2023

Outcomes of Microvascular Free Flap Reconstruction after Major Head and Neck Ablative Surgery at a Tertiary Teaching Hospital in Eastern Nepal
Sah BP, Paudel D, Sarraf DP

Background Reconstruction with free flaps has significantly changed the outcome of patients with head and neck cancer. Microsurgery is still considered a specialized procedure and is not routinely performed in the resource-constrained environment of developing country like Nepal. Objective To evaluate the clinical outcomes in patients who underwent different microvascular free flap reconstructions of head and neck defects after major ablative surgery. Method A retrospective study was conducted to review and analyze the data of patients with head and neck cancer who underwent microvascular free flap reconstruction after major ablative surgery from November 2017 to April 2021. The descriptive statistics were calculated using Microsoft Excel 2010. Result Out of 207 patients, 129 (62.32%) were males. Mean age was of 55.1713.44 years. About 133 (64.25%) tumors were on gingivobuccal complex. Anterolateral thigh flap was the most common flap 112, (54.11%) used for the reconstruction. Facial artery was used in 174 (84.06%) patients for anastomosis. The overall success rate was 97.5%. Re-exploration was done in 22 (10.63%) cases out of which 11 (50%) cases were having flap compromise. Delayed flap failure occurred in 5 cases (2.5%) and salvage surgery was done with pectoralis major myocutanuos flap with a salvage rate of 54%. Minor complications were observed in 39 cases (18.84%) out of which donor site graft loss was observed in 19 (9.18%) patients. Conclusion In spite of advanced set up, with trained dedicated manpower the microvascular free flap reconstruction of head and neck defects is safe with high success rate even in resource constrained country like Nepal.
Keyword : Free flap, Head and neck cancer, Microsurgery, Reconstruction