Outcomes following Autologous Fat Grafting for Oncologic Head and Neck Reconstruction

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Abstract

Background:

The aims of this study were to examine the surgical, oncologic, and aesthetic outcomes of patients undergoing autologous fat grafting for oncologic head and neck reconstruction.

Methods:

A review was performed of 119 consecutive patients undergoing autologous fat grafting for oncologic head and neck reconstruction from 2005 to 2014. Aesthetic outcomes were rated by a group of 10 plastic surgeons and 10 laypersons using a five-point Likert scale.

Results:

A total of 190 fat grafting procedures were performed in 116 patients. Of these, 69 percent had received radiation therapy before their reconstructive surgery. The average number of treatments per patient was 1.6 ± 1 (range, 1 to 6), with a mean injection volume of 24.8 ± 20.2 ml. The mean follow-up time from the first fat grafting procedure was 35.8 ± 23.1 months. Complications occurred in 6 percent, none of which required a return to the operating room or hospital admission. Oncologic recurrence was observed in six patients (three local, one regional, and two distant). Locoregional recurrences were in areas outside of where the fat was grafted. Aesthetic analysis revealed that both plastic surgeons and laypersons thought patients appeared closer to normal following autologous fat grafting.

Conclusion:

This study suggests that autologous fat grafting plays a valuable role in enhancing aesthetic outcomes either by complementing or replacing reconstructive flaps for oncologic head and neck reconstruction while having both low complication rates and no evidence of being associated with cancer recurrence.

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