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Beavertail modification of the radial forearm free flap in base of tongue reconstruction: Technique and functional outcomes

Authors

  • Hadi Seikaly MD, FRCSC,

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    2. Craniofacial Osseointegration and Maxillofacial Prosthetic Rehabilitation Unit (COMPRU), Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    • Division of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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  • Jana Rieger PhD,

    1. Craniofacial Osseointegration and Maxillofacial Prosthetic Rehabilitation Unit (COMPRU), Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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  • Daniel O'Connell MD,

    1. Division of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    2. Craniofacial Osseointegration and Maxillofacial Prosthetic Rehabilitation Unit (COMPRU), Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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  • Khalid Ansari MD, FRCSC,

    1. Division of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    2. Craniofacial Osseointegration and Maxillofacial Prosthetic Rehabilitation Unit (COMPRU), Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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  • Khalid AlQahtani MD, FRCSC,

    1. Division of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    2. Craniofacial Osseointegration and Maxillofacial Prosthetic Rehabilitation Unit (COMPRU), Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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  • Jeffrey Harris MD, FRCSC

    1. Division of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    2. Craniofacial Osseointegration and Maxillofacial Prosthetic Rehabilitation Unit (COMPRU), Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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Abstract

Background

Head and neck oncologists are often confronted with the difficult challenge of balancing cancer cure with the preservation of function when deciding the patient's best treatment protocol. This task is especially difficult in cancer of the base of tongue. The purpose of this manuscript is to describe the beavertail modification of the radial forearm-free flap in base of tongue reconstruction.

Methods

Thirty-one consecutive patients treated for base of tongue cancer with primary surgery were followed prospectively. The technique of the beavertail modification is described. Swallowing and speech function were assessed preoperatively and postoperatively.

Results

All the flaps survived. Thirty (97%) patients started consuming oral diet within 1 year, and all had normal speech intelligibility.

Conclusions

The beavertail modification of the radial forearm arm flap seems to provide the reconstructive elements that allow patients with large base of tongue extirpations to develop functional swallowing and speech production postoperatively. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck, 2009

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