Defining Quality in Head and Neck Reconstruction

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Abstract

Microvascular free flap reconstruction has now become the standard of care in the reconstruction of selected head and neck defects. Although uncommon, flap failure is a catastrophic event that results in significant patient morbidity, extended length of hospitalization, and increased cost. However, there is currently no gold standard for measuring the quality of a reconstructive center. Structure and process outcomes have recently been developed, but outcome measures are still lacking. Areas for future research include preoperative nutrition, preoperative flap planning, intraoperative fluid management, appropriate thromboembolism prophylaxis, consistent perioperative antibiotic regimens, skilled ancillary staff, and clear outcome measures for performance measurement.

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