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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Tongue reconstruction: outcomes with the rectus abdominis flap

A T Lyos, G R Evans, D Perez, M A Schusterman
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 1999, 103 (2): 442-7; discussion 448-9
9950529
Advanced carcinoma of the oral cavity is a devastating disease, with the potential for severe speech and swallowing dysfunction. This is a retrospective review documenting the outcome of 14 patients who underwent resection of at least 75 percent of their tongue with preservation of the larynx and an intact mandible. Reconstruction was accomplished with rectus abdominis free tissue transfer. There were seven male and seven female patients between the ages of 25 and 77 years (mean, 55 years) who underwent total (eight patients) or subtotal (six patients) glossectomy and reconstruction. Decannulation of the tracheostomy tube was performed in 12 patients (86 percent) at an average of 3.5 months postoperatively. One patient required interval laryngectomy for intractable aspiration 1 month postoperatively. Independent evaluation of speech, articulation, and deglutition was performed. Fifty percent of patients achieved oral intake of pureed foods or better. Sixty-four percent had acceptable speech. Reconstruction with rectus abdominis free tissue transfer is a viable method for rehabilitation, improving quality of life after total or subtotal glossectomy with laryngeal preservation.

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