JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Second osteocutaneous fibular free flaps for head and neck defects.

Laryngoscope 2005 June
OBJECTIVE: To analyze the morbidity of a second fibular free tissue transfer when necessary in rare instances when the initial fibular flap fails. CASE DESIGN: Retrospective analysis of a case series.

METHODS: A database of patients who underwent resection of head and neck malignancies with resultant free flap reconstruction was analyzed retrospectively. All patients undergoing fibular free flaps were studied, and those needing a second fibular osteocutaneous flap were identified. The morbidity from the second flap was evaluated by a standard questionnaire.

RESULTS: Seven patients underwent a second fibular osteocutaneous flaps for reconstruction; data were available from six. The indications for the second flap were perioperative flap loss (5 patients), osteoradionecrosis (1), and recurrent tumor (1). Follow-up began at 3 months; mean follow-up was 44 (range 9-67) months. The morbidity of harvesting a second fibular flap was similar to that of a unilateral harvest. Four of six patients rated their overall morbidity as low; one patient indicated an intermediate morbidity, and one patient rated their morbidity from the procedure as major. The only donor site morbidities were episodes of mild cellulitis that resolved with outpatient antibiotics.

CONCLUSION: Harvest of a second fibular osteocutaneous is a reasonable option for reconstruction when a second flap becomes needed. The morbidities are comparable with those encountered with a unilateral fibular flap harvest.

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