Predictive Factors of Dysphagia After Lateral and Superior Oropharyngeal Reconstruction With Free Flap Transfer

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Background and Objectives:

Lateral and superior oropharyngeal reconstruction is technically challenging and can be complicated by postoperative dysphagia. The aim of this retrospective study was to identify the predictive factors of dysphagia after lateral and superior oropharyngeal reconstruction with free flap transfer and to establish better management for cases with these predictive factors.


We performed a retrospective chart review of 109 patients who had undergone lateral and superior oropharyngeal reconstruction with free flap transfer for oropharyngeal cancer. Preoperative, operative, and postoperative variables were examined, and possible predicative factors for dysphagia were subjected to univariate analysis and multivariate logistic regression analysis.


Dysphagia occurred in 16 patients (14.7%). Multivariate logistic regression analysis identified extensive tongue base resection, postoperative radiotherapy, and history of radiotherapy to the head and neck region as independent factors contributing to dysphagia after lateral and superior oropharyngeal reconstruction. Of these factors, extensive tongue base resection was the most important.


Early intervention to minimize the risk of dysphagia should be performed for patients identified with these predictive factors. J. Surg. Oncol. 2016;113:240–243. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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