In head and neck reconstruction, use of a free flap paired with end-to-side anastomosis to a preserved vein is generally performed. However, it is frequently difficult to select the recipient vein after a neck dissection in which there is only a ligated internal jugular vein/external jugular vein (IJV/EJV). Here, a new anastomosis technique using a ligated IJV/EJV stump is described.
Patients and Methods
End-to-side anastomoses to ligated vein stump surgeries for free flap transfer in head and neck reconstruction were performed at the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, University of Tsukuba, from 2009 to 2016.
The subject pool comprised 6 patients. All patients received a free flap transfer after head and neck tumor excision. The free flaps used were 1 free radial forearm flap, 1 free tensor fascia lata muscle perforator flap, and 4 free rectus abdominis musculocutaneous flaps. The cervical vessels used were 3 IJVs and 3 EJVs. All veins of the free flaps could be anastomosed end-to-side to ligated vein stumps without vein grafting. All flaps survived completely without complications.
The end-to-side venous anastomosis to a ligated vein stump procedures were easy to perform and not dependent on the vessel diameters of the free flaps. No complications were observed in any patient owing to differences in vessel diameter, ease of anastomosis, and safety. Results suggest that this new technique is a simple and very useful option in head and neck reconstruction where the IJV/EJV cannot be preserved.