Advances in head and neck reconstruction

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


There are numerous advances that have taken place over the last several years in head and neck reconstruction. In this article, the author has outlined three exciting developments. The first is in the area of palatomaxillary reconstruction using free tissue transfer. In select cases, depending on the nature of the defect, soft tissue flaps have been highly successful. However, in more extensive defects, the author chooses to transfer vascularized bone composite flaps to achieve successful dental restoration as well as closure of the palatal defect. Sensory restoration through the use of sensate flaps has been a topic of considerable controversy. The author presents his experience with three patients who underwent a unique reconstruction of the laryngopharynx that has demonstrated conclusively that targeted sensory restoration can be achieved through neural anastomoses. By anastomosing the sensory nerve to the superior laryngeal nerve, there are implicit physiologic implications with respect to the feedback that is achieved and its role in achieving glottic closure during deglutition. Extensive laryngeal reconstruction with subglottic involvement can be a very challenging problem. The author describes a new technique using vascularized tracheal autografts with the thyroid gland as a carrier. This provides the necessary ingredients for transferring a cartilaginous infrastructure within a thin layer of vascularized mucosa to restore the framework and the lining to the laryngotracheal region. Three patients have been restored who had extensive glottic and subglottic stenoses that have since been decannulated and are successfully eating as well as speaking. In addition, the author feels that this is a very promising technique for the management of chondrosarcomas, in which a significant portion of the cricoid arch requires reconstruction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1473-1476
Number of pages4
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2003


Dive into the research topics of 'Advances in head and neck reconstruction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this