A prospective study of 220 consecutive pectoralis major myocutaneous flaps used for oral cavity reconstruction from March of 1990 to February of 1991 showed that 89 patients (40.5 percent) developed flap-related complications and 33 patients (15 percent) had complications unrelated to the flap; 92 patients (42 percent) had an uneventful recovery and there were 6 (2.7 percent) postoperative deaths. Sixty patients (27 percent) developed flap necrosis, of whom only 6 (2.7 percent) had total flap loss. Major partial loss occurred in 20 patients (9 percent) and minor flap loss occurred in 34 (15.5 percent).
Flap necrosis was significantly lower in the purely myocutaneous flaps (p < 0.0000) vis-à-vis the bipedicled and osteocutaneous flaps. Fistula formation, wound infection, dehiscence at the flap margin, and postoperative hematomas occurred with comparable frequency in both groups. The female gender, primary tongue cancer, subtotal or total glossectomy, bipedicling of flaps, prior chemotherapy, and presence of systemic disease (diabetes) emerged as significant risk factors for flap necrosis on multivariate analysis (p < 0.005).
From the Plastic and Reconstructive Service and Head and Neck Service “B” at the Tata Memorial Hospital. Received for publication July 7, 1994; revised March 8, 1995.
Samir Mehta, M.S. 9, Ashok Nagar Society Bombay 400 049, India