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Shoulder morbidity after pectoralis major flap reconstruction for head and neck cancer




The effect of pectoralis major flap (PMF) harvest on shoulder function, allowing for the effects of neck dissection, has not previously been objectively measured.


Twenty-two patients who underwent PMF reconstruction were studied. The control group comprised 35 patients with neck dissection (without PMF). Neck dissections in both groups were classified into 3 grades; grade 1: no neck dissection/selective neck dissection; grade 2: modified radical neck dissection; grade 3: radical neck dissection/extended radical neck dissection. Objective shoulder assessments were carried out using Constant score.


Constant score deteriorated with grade of neck dissection (p < .005). The median Constant score for PMF group and neck dissection only group were 82 and 90, respectively (p = .40). Subgroup analysis within neck dissection grade did not show any significant difference, but the effect of PMF was noted to be greatest in grade 2 patients (p = .064).


There is minimal or low shoulder morbidity, additional to neck dissection, caused by PMF reconstruction in head and neck surgery. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck, 2009

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