: The reconstruction of total or subtotal defects after surgical treatment for hypopharyngeal cancer is a challenging problem in head and neck surgery. The authors discuss reconstructive surgery performed in 37 patients affected by advanced hypopharyngeal cancer using the pectoralis major myocutaneous flap. In 22 cases of total pharyngolaryngectomy, the reconstructive procedure originally proposed by the authors was based on the use of a pectoralis major myocutaneous flap directly sutured to the pharyngeal and esophageal stumps and the prevertebral fascia, which eventually represented the posterior wall of the neohypopharynx. In 15 cases of subtotal pharyngolaryngectomy, the posterior wall of the neohypopharynx consisted of a residual strip of pharyngeal mucosa. In each patient, removal of the tumor and reconstruction were performed during the same operation, with only a few complications. Neither flap necrosis nor strictures were encountered; five patients had pharyngeal fistula and one patient died because of massive pneumonia. Although the use of microvascular free flaps is a reliable procedure, the pectoralis major myocutaneous flap is still applicable for hypopharyngeal reconstruction, thanks to its feasibility and low complication rate. The other reconstructive options require surgical transgression of the abdomen and/or thorax in patients affected by malnutrition and other chronic systemic disorders.
(C)2002American Society of Plastic Surgeons