The medial sural artery perforator (MSAP) flap is an ideal option for reconstruction of oral cavity defects owing to its thin and pliable nature and favorable donor site. Our study presents an assessment of functional outcomes including speech and swallowing in patients with oral cavity tumors reconstructed with MSAP flaps.
Patients undergoing MSAP reconstruction for oral cavity tumors between January 2014 and January 2018 were identified from our prospective head and neck cancer database. Functional outcomes were assessed in conjunction with the Speech and Language Team with a minimum follow-up of 6 months. Function (speech and swallowing) was recorded as a performance status scale set up by the assessing health care professional.
A total of 38 patients underwent reconstruction with the MSAP flap over the study period. The patient cohort included 10 female patients and 28 male patients. The age range was from 30 to 78 years, with a mean age of 56.8 years. Complications included 1 flap loss and 1 donor site wound dehiscence.
Most patients (84.2%) had intelligible speech at 6-month follow-up and further improvement at 1 year (92.1%). All patients resumed feeding on postoperative day 4, and only 7.8% (n = 3) of the patients required assistance with feeding at 1-year follow-up.
The MSAP flap provides adequate small-volume replacement for oral cavity reconstructions. Our results indicate that most patients achieve a full diet with no restrictions by 1 year after reconstruction. Most of our patients demonstrated excellent speech with little or no need for repetition in conversation. Over the past few years, this has become the flap of choice for oral cavity reconstruction in our unit.