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Functional reconstruction of subtotal glossectomy defects with radial forearm free flap: case report and review of literature

Functional reconstruction of subtotal glossectomy defects with radial forearm free flap: case report and review of literature

Folia Medica 54(2): 60-65

Adequate reconstruction of defects that are consequences of glossectomy is of primary importance for achieving satisfactory functional results and improving the quality of life. The aim of this study was to report a case of free flap reconstruction of a subtotal glossectomy defect and discuss it in relation to other available methods. A 48-year-old woman was operated on for a T4N0M0 squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue. A subtotal glossectomy via mandibular swing procedure with bilateral supraomohyoid neck dissection and reconstruction with a radial forearm free flap (RFFF) was performed. Surgery was followed by adjuvant radiotherapy. The post-operative period was uneventful. The patient resumed intelligible speech evaluated as "excellent" and oral feeding. The donor site morbidity was acceptable. Present reconstructive options of the tongue include two categories: to maintain mobility or to provide bulk. In glossectomy with 30 to 50 percent preservation of the original musculature, maintaining the mobility of the remaining tongue by a thin, pliable flap is preferred. This can be achieved by infrahyoid myofascial, medial sural artery perforator flap, RFFF, anterolateral thigh and ulnar forearm flap. When the post-resectional volume is less than 30 percent of the original tongue, the reconstruction shifts to restoration of bulk to facilitate swallowing by providing contact of the neotongue with the palate. Flaps providing bulk include the free TRAM flap, latissimus dorsi myocutaneous free flap, pectoralis major musculocutaneous flap and trapezius island flap. Surgical treatment of advanced tongue cancer requires adequate reconstruction with restoration of speech, swallowing and oral feeding. Free tissue transfer seems to achieve superior functional results with acceptable donor site morbidity when indicated.

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Accession: 053328490

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PMID: 23101287

DOI: 10.2478/v10153-011-0090-x

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