Head and neck carcinomas often are at an advanced stage at the time of diagnosis and therefore frequently primarily hardly operable. A downstaging achieved by neoadjuvant radiotherapy can facilitate a radical tumor resection. Because of radiogenic tissue alterations like scarring and impairment of blood supply, elaborate operations, such as microsurgical reconstructions, are aggravated to a degree, and most surgeons consider them impossible. In this paper, we report our experiences with plastic-surgical reconstruction in patients with neoadjuvant pretreated head and neck carcinoma.
In the last 6 years, eight patients with an advanced head and neck carcinoma were subjected to neoadjuvant radiotherapy followed by a radical tumor resection and reconstruction within the same session. Therefore, pedicled pectoralis flaps (in three patients), microvascular radialis flaps (two), lateral upper arm flaps (one), parascapular flaps (one), and a microsurgical anastomosed jejunal graft were used. The mean follow-up period was 44.5 months.
The surgical postoperative course was uneventful in 75 % of patients (six out of eight). An anastomosis venous thrombose in one patient and a wound dehiscence in another required revision. In the end, a satisfactory result could be achieved in all the patients.
Sophisticated reconstructions in irritated patients with ENT carcinoma are challenging; therefore, efficient interdisciplinary cooperation can overcome this obstacle.