JOURNAL ARTICLE
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An audit of Björk flap tracheostomies in head and neck plastic surgery.

Patients undergoing head and neck surgery for malignancy especially resection of parts of the upper aerodigestive tracts need a secure airway intra- and postoperatively. A tracheostomy is an effective method of achieving this objective. In our unit the Björk flap technique1 has been the preferred type of tracheostomy. Ninety-five consecutive Björk flap tracheostomies performed by one surgeon preceding major head and neck resection for malignancy in patients aged 17-79 years (median = 61 years) were retrospectively evaluated. The technique was quick and provided a secure airway. The tracheostomy tubes were left in situ for a median of 5 days (range 1-17 days). After extubation subsequent stoma closure was uneventful, 60% healing within 1 week. No patient developed tracheal fistula, clinical tracheal stenosis or cosmetically unacceptable scarring. There was no tracheostomy-related mortality. It is concluded that the Björk flap tracheostomy technique can be safely used in head and neck cancer surgery in adults.

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