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Utility of the gastro-omental free flap in head and neck reconstruction

Patel, Rajan Sa,b; Gilbert, Ralph Wb

Current Opinion in Otolaryngology & Head and Neck Surgery: August 2009 - Volume 17 - Issue 4 - p 258–262
doi: 10.1097/MOO.0b013e32832cba42
Head and neck reconstruction: Edited by Danny J. Enepekides

Purpose of review In the current era of organ-preservation therapies, surgical salvage and reconstruction of defects following ablation of mucosa and soft tissue in the head and neck is extremely challenging because of the toxic effects of chemoradiation and intensive radiotherapy on wounds. The anatomical, physiological and immunological properties of the gastro-omental flap make it an ideal reconstructive technique in head and neck surgery.

Recent findings Several case series published in the past 12 months highlight the utility of this flap in inhospitable wounds and particularly in restoration of circumferential pharyngeal defects. The gastro-omental flap produces satisfactory functional results and morbidity in this group of high-risk patients.

Summary The gastro-omental free flap provides an alternative to traditional reconstructive techniques that is ideally suited to high-risk complex wounds in the head and neck.

aDepartment of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Auckland City Hospital, University of Auckland, New Zealand

bDepartment of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Princess Margaret Hospital, University of Toronto, Canada

Correspondence to Rajan S. Patel, MBChB, MD, FRCS (ORL-HNS), Consultant in Head and Neck Surgery and Reconstructive Microsurgery, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Auckland City Hospital, 2 Park Road, Grafton, Auckland 1023, New Zealand Tel: +64 9 307 4949; fax: +64 9 375 7038; e-mail:

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.