Peroneal Flap for Tongue Reconstruction

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For large tongue defects, reconstructive surgeons have devised a variety of feasible options, such as radial forearm free flap and anterolateral thigh (ALT) flap. In our institution, peroneal flap has been the workhorse flap for the soft tissue defect in head and neck reconstruction. We present our experience using peroneal flap in tongue reconstruction.

Patients and Methods

The study included 47 patients who had undergone tongue reconstructions with peroneal flaps after tumor resection. The size and location of the defect after tumor resection determined whether the peroneal flaps could be harvested as pure septocutaneous flaps to solely reconstruct the neotongue or to carry an additional muscle bulk to fill the adjacent defect. Retrospective chart review was used to look for postoperative complications and to perform functional assessments (which were also performed through telephone inquiry).


Of the 47 patients, 3 (6%) had flap failure and 1 (2.1%) had partial flap necrosis. The hemiglossectomy group had better results than the total glossectomy group with respect to speech and diet, but neither of these results reached statistical significance (p = 1.0 for speech and p = 0.06 for diet). The results of the subtotal glossectomy group were better than those of the total glossectomy group with respect to diet (p = 0.03). No statistically significant differences were noted among the three groups with respect to cosmetic aspect (p = 0.64).


Considering its reasonable postoperative complication rates and functional results, peroneal flap can be considered a feasible option for tongue reconstruction.

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