2-Octyl cyanoacrylate to prevent salivary fistula formation following oral cavity microvascular reconstruction: A prospective trial

Scott A. Roof, Enrique R. Perez, Dillan F. Villavisanis, Mohemmed N. Khan, Rocco M. Ferrandino, Robert J. Chouake, Caitlin W. Pacheco, Mike Yao, Marita S. Teng, Eric M. Genden, Brett A. Miles

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Background: Salivary fistulas remain a significant problem in patients undergoing major head and neck reconstructive surgery. Surgical sealants have become increasingly used in cutaneous and non-cutaneous wound closure, providing a barrier to fluids/gases and promoting healing. The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of a common surgical sealant, 2-Octyl Cyanoacrylate (2-OCA, Dermabond®), in the prevention of salivary fistulas following free flap reconstruction of the oral cavity. Methods: In this non-randomized, single arm prospective trial, patients undergoing free flap reconstruction of gravity-dependent oral cavity defects were recruited. Application of 2-OCA was performed along flap inset suture lines at the time of surgery. Prospectively collected trial data were propensity score matched to a control cohort to compare outcomes. Data collected include demographics, medical co-morbidities, previous treatments, primary tumor site, and subsites reconstructed. The primary outcome measure was rate of salivary fistula formation. Secondary outcomes were time to development of leak and percentage of patients tolerating oral feeding at one month post-operatively. Results: In the 46 propensity score matched pairs, eight (17.4%) out of 46 patients in the 2-OCA prospective cohort and seven (15.2%) out of 46 patients in the control cohort developed postoperative salivary fistulas within the one-month study interval (p = 1.00). The average time to postoperative leak in the 2-OCA group was 12.5 days versus 7.1 days in the control cohort (p = 0.10). In the 2-OCA group, 30 (65.2%) patients were tolerating regular diet at one month post-operatively compared to 33 (71.7%) in the control cohort (p = 0.65). Conclusion: Salivary fistula rates after application of a 2-OCA surgical sealant were not improved compared to a control cohort in this single institutional trial. There are several surgical sealants available, each with varying elasticity and adhesiveness. Future studies are needed to identify surgical sealants that are able to provide sufficient strength and adhesion to seal closures and combat corrosive saliva, but elastic enough to handle motion related tension during swallowing and post-operative movements in the head and neck.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102552
JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020


  • Dermabond®
  • Free flap
  • Free tissue transfer
  • Oral cavity cancer
  • Orocutaneous fistula
  • Salivary fistula
  • Surgical sealants


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