The expanding role of scapular free-flaps

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Purpose of review

The review evaluates the expanding role of scapular free flaps and its application in various complex head and neck defects.

Recent findings

The recent literature published focuses on the use of three-dimensional modeling for maxillectomy defects, expanded uses in both the megaflap, the various application of the scapular tip flap, and the feasibility of osseointegrated implants.


The subscapular system of flaps remains a versatile option in head and neck reconstruction. It continues to be one of the best options for large defects requiring generous soft tissue, muscle, and bone. Three-dimensional modeling is currently being applied to complex maxillary defects resulting in increased accuracy and efficiency of reconstruction. Expanded uses have also adopted the latissimus dorsi muscle in conjunction with the scapular bony flap to be used in large defects with resulting decreased fistula rates. Finally, there is sufficient evidence that supports the use of dental implantation into the scapula bone with successful retention rates.

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