ABSTRACT: Free vascularized graft or free-flap reconstruction is frequently used in the reconstruction of defects in head and neck oncology patients. A common complication in free-flap surgery is thrombosis. Thrombosis occurs in 8-14% of cases and often leads to flap failure. A review of the literature on this subject was carried out and Dutch head and neck cancer centres were asked to share their guidelines concerning the prevention of thrombosis after free vascularized graft surgery. No consensus in the literature was found on how thrombosis could best be prevented. The Dutch Head and Neck Cancer Centers use routine deep venous thrombosis prophylaxis to prevent thrombosis in the anastomosis. It was also concluded that non-pharmacologic measures for preventing thrombosis, such as meticulous microvascular surgery and smoking cessation prior to the operation, are thought to play an important role in the prevention of thrombosis in microvascular free-flap reconstructions. It has not been determined which pre- and postoperative pharmacologic measure can prevent thrombosis most effectively. A pharmacologic regimen to prevent thrombosis that is customized to the patient is suggested. This should be based on an individual risk profile for the development of thrombosis.
International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery 02/2010; 39(2):101-6. · 1.51 Impact Factor