How do i salvage that flap?; An evidence-based primer on salvage techniques for head & neck microvascular free flaps

Travis Hathorn, Christopher Nickel, Abhay Sharma, Sepehr Shabani, Tapan Padhya, Matthew Mifsud

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Interventional strategies for dealing with microvascular free flap failure are varied among institutions and even individual surgeons. This systematic review aims to identify the published methods for salvaging a failing free flap and provide surgeons with a comprehensive toolset for successful intervention. A title and abstract search of the PubMed, Embase, and Web of Science databases was performed. 1694 abstracts were screened by three reviewers according to Prisma guidelines. 62 full text articles meeting inclusion criteria detailed techniques which were separated into the categories of thrombectomy, thrombolysis, leech therapy, vascular fistula, and an “other” category outlining techniques which did not fit into the prior framework. Assessment of the efficacy of individual salvage techniques is limited due to limited empirical data, however, the approach to successful salvage should be based on timely identification of flap compromise, followed by the implementation of one or several of the aforementioned techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106246
JournalOral Oncology
Volume136
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2023

Keywords

  • Arteriovenous fistula
  • Free tissue flap
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Leech therapy
  • Thrombectomy
  • Thrombolysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oral Surgery
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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