Oral cavity defect reconstruction using anterolateral thigh free flaps


Institute of Otolaryngology


Institute of Plastic Surgery


Institute of Anesthesiology, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Policlinico Agostino Gemelli, Rome

B-ENT 2011; 7: 19-25
Read: 546 Downloads: 347 Published: 14 February 2020

Oral cavity defect reconstruction using anterolateral thigh free flaps. Background: It is estimated that about 92,000 new cases of oral cavity and pharyngeal cancer occurred in Europe in 2008. During the past 30 years in the USA and Western Europe, the prognosis for oral cancer has clearly improved thanks to the possibility of reconstruction with microvascular free flaps, resulting in broader and safer resections. The anterolateral thigh flap is now being increasingly employed for this goal. The aim of the present work is to evaluate the anterolateral thigh free flap in the reconstruction of oral cavity defects.

Materials and methods: Between July 2004 and February 2009, we harvested 73 free flaps for the reconstruction of soft tissue defects in the oral cavity of 70 patients at our institution. The oncological and functional results in these 70 patients were evaluated, particularly in those patients reconstructed with anterolateral thigh (ALT) free flap. We also evaluated the quality of life using the FACT-H&N questionnaire.

Results: We observed no significant differences in functional and oncological results between patients reconstructed by ALT and patients reconstructed with other flaps. Swallowing may be more difficult in patients who undergo adjuvant irradiation.

Conclusions: In our opinion, the very low morbidity at the donor site, great versatility, and very long pedicle make the ALT free flap the first choice for reconstructing soft tissue defects in the oral cavity (particularly mobile tongue).

EISSN 2684-4907