JOURNAL ARTICLE
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The lateral upper arm free flap for intraoral reconstruction.

Twenty-three consecutive patients who were reconstructed with a lateral upper arm free flap (LUFF) were examined especially concerning functional and morphological results at the recipient and donor sites. There were 22 intraoral and one upper oesophageal reconstruction after radical laryngectomy. The LUFF rendered good functional and esthetic results except for one case of complete and one case of incomplete flap necrosis due to vascular insufficiency of the supplying vessel of the neck. There was some sensory deficit of the donor site (n=10), but no radial nerve injury or conspicuous scarring. Recipient site dehiscence occurred in two cases and a temporary orocervical fistula was seen in one case. Oral function was maintained due to the thin and pliable flap. Excellent flap adaptation to the adjacent tissue was obtained in eight cases of complete loss of lingual attached gingiva in the molar region and in four cases of loss of buccal attached gingiva. The success and functional results of LUFF were comparable to the results of 14 cases in which radial forearm free flaps (RFFF) were used. Although the length of the pedicle and the diameter of the vessels in LUFF are smaller than in RFFF, neither pedicle length nor vessel diameter proved to be a problem. Extent of scarring and risk of vascular compromise proved to be less as compared to RFFF. LUFF is, therefore, the flap of choice for intraoral soft tissue reconstruction and it is advised to reserve RFFF for cases in which LUFF fails.

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