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03.01.2019 | Original Paper

Head and neck microsurgical reconstruction using the superficial temporal vein for antegrade and retrograde drainage: A clinical case series

Zeitschrift:
European Journal of Plastic Surgery
Autoren:
M. Daya, T. Pillay

Abstract

Background

In head and neck microsurgical reconstruction, previous surgery and past radiation exposure to the neck may adversely affect recipient vessel access in the neck. The superficial temporal vessels can be used to overcome these challenges. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate the viability of using the superficial temporal vein (STV) for a double venous anastomosis, for antegrade and retrograde drainage, in head and neck microvascular free flap transfers.

Methods

An 11-year retrospective chart review was performed of clinical cases of head and neck reconstruction by free tissue transfer, in which the recipient vessels used were the superficial temporal artery (STA) and vein, with the latter providing for dual antegrade and retrograde drainage.

Results

The case series comprised of six patients who underwent free flap reconstruction of craniofacial defects following resection of malignant tumours in five, and due to noma in one. Compromising factors were scarring, radiotherapy, previous surgery and the recipient superficial temporal vein being less than 1 mm in diameter above the parotid. The recipient vessels used were the superficial temporal artery and veins in all cases.

Conclusions

The use of the superficial temporal blood supply for a single arterial supply and a dual antegrade and retrograde venous drainage is a reliable technique for free flaps to the upper two thirds of the head. A double venous anastomosis adds to its dependability.
Level of Evidence: Level IV, therapeutic study.

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