BACKGROUND: : Pharyngoesophageal defects traditionally have been reconstructed using a jejunal or radial forearm flap. In 2002, the authors began using the anterolateral thigh flap for pharyngoesophageal reconstruction, and it has become our preferred method. The purpose of this study was to analyze the clinical and functional outcomes achieved using this technique.
METHODS: : The medical records of 91 male and 23 female patients who underwent pharyngoesophageal reconstruction using an anterolateral thigh flap were retrospectively reviewed. Outcomes analyzed included length of hospital and intensive care unit stay, fistula and anastomotic stricture formation and other complications, swallowing and tracheoesophageal speech function, and survival. Most patients had primary (27%) or recurrent (42%) squamous cell carcinoma. Before reconstruction, 71% of patients had undergone surgery, radiotherapy, or both. There were 67 circumferential and 47 near-circumferential defects.
RESULTS: : Mean intensive care unit stay was 1.9 +/- 2.2 days, and mean hospital stay was 9.0 +/- 4.7 days. Two patients experienced total flap loss, and 1 patient had partial flap necrosis. Pharyngocutaneous fistulas and strictures occurred in 9% and 6% of patients, respectively. Ninety-one percent of patients tolerated an oral diet without the need for tube feeding. Tracheoesophageal puncture was performed for speech rehabilitation in 51 patients. Eight-one percent of patients with a secondary tracheoesophageal puncture achieved fluent speech versus 41% of patients with a primary tracheoesophageal puncture.
CONCLUSIONS: : This series demonstrates that excellent clinical and functional outcomes, with minimal donor site morbidity and quick recovery, are possible with pharyngoesophageal reconstruction using an anterolateral thigh flap. Cancer 2010. (c) 2010 American Cancer Society.
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