Total parotidectomy defect reconstruction using the buried free flap

Steven B. Cannady, Rahul Seth, Michael A. Fritz, Daniel S. Alam, Mark K. Wax

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Objective 1) Present an alternative method of total parotidectomy with or without neck dissection defect reconstruction that results in improved cosmesis. 2) Describe applications of free tissue transfer in parotidectomy defect reconstruction. Study Design Case series with chart review. Setting Two tertiary-care medical centers. Subjects and Methods A two-institution retrospective review from 2002 to 2009 was conducted for buried free flaps utilized in reconstruction of defects from total parotidectomy with or without neck dissection. Patients with temporal bone or skin resections were excluded. Demographic information, tumor characteristics, surgical interventions, flap details, and adjunctive facial reconstructive techniques were recorded. Postoperative cosmetic results were evaluated by patient and physician satisfaction. Results Eighteen patients with a mean age of 57.4 years underwent flap reconstruction. Total parotidectomy was performed in all cases, 11 cases required facial nerve sacrifice, and 14 cases included neck dissection. The anterolateral thigh flap was the most often utilized free flap. Mean flap area was 65.5 cm2. Adjunctive static facial reanimation was employed in eight patients. All flaps survived. Ten patients underwent adjuvant radiation. Free flap reconstruction resulted in cosmetic patient and surgeon satisfaction, despite adjuvant radiation therapy. Conclusion Free flap reconstruction of total parotidectomy (with or without neck dissection) defects is safe and effective. It does not preclude adjunctive facial reanimation and provides sufficient tissue bulk to match the contralateral facial contour despite radical resections and adjuvant radiation therapy in most cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)637-643
Number of pages7
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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