The objective of this study was to summarize our experience of using local flaps for the reconstruction of neck defects after cervical contractures release, particularly of using the extended deltopectoral flaps whose distal margin was beyond the anterior axillary line even reaching dorsalis for reconstruction of anterior neck scar contractures in a single-stage procedure.
From 1987 to 2008, neck scar contractures were reconstructed using various local flaps in 68 patients with postburn anteriorly located neck contractures. The local flaps used consisted of 36 deltopectoral flaps, 6 extended deltopectoral flaps, 4 free scapular flaps, 8 neck-shoulder flaps, and 14 Z-plasties. The distal end of extended deltopectoral flaps was transferred as microvascular-free flap provided by the posterior circumflex humeral artery, but the proximal end as pedicle flap supplied by the anterior perforating branches of internal mammary artery. Other flaps were elevated conventionally as described previously in the articles.
Of 68 patients, there were 59 cases (86.8%) whose release of the contractures was excellent. For 51 patients, the whole process of treatment was finished only in a single-stage procedure. We used extended deltopectoral flap, which was developed from our own anatomic studies and from previous reports in the literature, in 6 patients. This new flap extends the volume of the original deltopectoral flap, from 22 to 32 cm in length and 10 to 22 cm in width (at the apex). Postoperatively, all flaps survived completely. Patients were satisfied with their results. The follow-up period ranged 1 to 10 years; no obvious recontractures have been noted. There were no severe donor-site complications.
The local flap with matching texture, color, elasticity, and pliability is still the best choice for reconstruction of postburn anteriorly located neck contractures. The extended deltopectoral flap has been used successfully to yield satisfactory outcomes for the scar contractures in the anterior neck and should be conserved as a selective method for reconstructive surgeons.