An objective comparison regarding rate of fistula and stricture among anterolateral thigh, radial forearm, and jejunal free tissue transfers in circumferential pharyngo-esophageal reconstruction

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Background:The three commonly used free flaps for circumferential pharyngeal reconstruction after total pharyngo-laryngectomy are the radial forearm flap (RFF), the anterolateral thigh (ALT) flap, and the jejunum flap. This study was to objectively compare three different flaps for pharyngeal reconstruction during the past 10 years. Stricture and fistula were assessed using esophagogram and esophagoscopy.Methods:Forty-five patients with pharyngeal reconstructions had esophagram and esophagoscopy done postoperatively to assess for strictures and fistulas. These patients were divided into three groups based on pharyngeal reconstruction by ALT, RFF, and jejunal flaps. From the results of the esophagogram and esophagoscope, the presence of a fistula or stricture was compared and analyzed.Results:There was only one ALT flap failure. The rate of fistula was 33%, 50%, and 30% in the ALT, RFF, and jejunal flap group respectively. The fistula rate revealed no significant difference between ALT, RFF, jejunal flap groups (P = 0.63). The rate of stricture was 38.1%, 57.1%, and 0% in the ALT, RFA, jejunal flap groups respectively. The stricture rate in jejunal flap group revealed significant decrease (P = 0.0093).Conclusion:Jejunal flap has a significantly lower rate of stricture for reconstruction of circumferential pharyngeal defects when compared with RFF or ALT flaps. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Microsurgery 35:345–349, 2015.

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