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Journal of the Korean Society for Surgery of the Hand 2006;15(2):92-100.
Published online October 31, 2006.
Versatility of Radial Forearm Free Flap on Head and Neck Cancer in Old-Aged Patient and its Donor Site Morbidity
Ki Eung Lee, M.D., Su Rak Eo, M.D., Ph.D.*, Sung Hoon Koh, M.D., Ph.D.
노인 두경부 종양환자에서 노쪽아래팔유리피판술의 유용성 및 공여부 결과의 비교
이기응, 어수락*, 고성훈
  Radial forearm free flap (RFFF) has been established itself as a versatile and widely used method for reconstruction of the head and neck, although it is still criticized for high mortality of donor site. Delayed wound healing, cosmetic deformity, vascular compromise and potentially reduced wrist function have many plastic surgeons hesitate to adapt it as a first choice in microreconstruction. To overcome these drawbacks, some techniques for donor-site repair such as V-Y advancement with full thickness skin graft (FTSG), application of artificial dermis (Terudermis?) or acellular dermal matrix (AlloDerm?), and double-opposing rhomboid transposition flap have been reported.
  Authors performed 4 cases of RFFF in old-aged patients of the head and neck cancer from April 2005 to February 2006. We compared the outcomes of donor site of RFFF which were resurfaced with split thickness skin graft (STSG) only and STSG overlying an AlloDerm?. Patients were all males ranging from 59 to 74 years old (mean, 67.5). Three of them had tongue cancers, and the other showed hypopharyngeal cancer. All cases were pathologically confirmed as squamous cell carcinomas. We included the deep fascia into the flap, so called subfascially elevated RFFF in three cases, and in the other one, we dissected the RFFF suprafascially leaving the fascia intact. The donor site of the suprafascially elevated RFFF was resurfaced with STSG only. Among three of subfascially elevated RFFFs, donor-sites were covered with thin STSG only in one case, and STSG overlying AlloDerm? in two cases. All RFFFs were survived completely without any complication. The donor site of the suprafascially elevated RFFF was taken well with STSG only. But, the partial graft loss exposing brachioradialis and flexor carpi radialis muscle was unavoidable in all the subfascially elevated RFFFs irregardless of AlloDerm? application.
  Considering that many patients of the head and neck cancer are in old ages, we believe the RFFF is still a useful and versatile choice for resurfacing the head and neck region after cancer ablation. Its reliability and functional characteristics could override its criticism for donor site in old-aged cancer patients.
Key Words: <, p>, Radial forearm free flap, Donor site, Skin graft, Head and neck reconstruction<, /p>
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