Versatility of free SCIA/SIEA flaps in head and neck defects
Reconstruction of head and neck defects may require replacement of the bony structures, external soft tissue, and intraoral mucosa. Most cases, including maxillary defects, often require repair using only soft tissue flaps. Recently, the authors used free superficial circumflex iliac artery/superficial inferior epigastric (SCIA/SIEA) flaps for head and neck reconstruction. This was their first choice over other free flaps due to its versatile advantages. Fifteen patients underwent head and neck reconstruction with free SCIA/SIEA flaps (n = 16). No flap loss was observed; however, emergency vascular reanastomosis was performed in 3 cases to restore the blood supply in compromised flaps. Flap thinning and secondary debulking procedures were performed in 4 cases. The functional and aesthetic results were deemed as acceptable in all patients. Based on our results, we believe that the free SCIA/SIEA flap is useful for soft tissue defect reconstruction in the head and neck. It has the following advantages: (1) Large flap elevation is possible for reaching distant recipient vessels, (2) Two surgical teams may work at the same time preparing the donor and recipient regions, and (3) The flap design uses an abdominoplasty incision, which has minimal donor site morbidity.
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