Pharyngeal Flap Necrosis as a Cause of Airway Obstruction During Induction of Anesthesia

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Anesthesiologists should approach the airway carefully in the patient with a diagnosis of head and neck carcinoma, particularly if the patient has had previous surgery and reconstruction. Patients with head and neck carcinoma may be difficult intubations due to altered anatomy from the tumor or fibrotic changes because of radiation therapy. Our patient had had pharyngectomy and reconstruction with a pectoralis major skin flap. The patient returned to the operating suite for wide-excision pharyngectomy and had acute airway obstruction after induction of general anesthesia. The pectoralis flap had necrosed, pulling away from the pharyngeal wall and obstructing the patient's glottic opening.

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