Subscapular system of flaps: An 8-year experience with 105 patients

Marc J. Gibber, Jason B. Clain, Adam S. Jacobson, Daniel Buchbinder, Sophie Scherl, Jose P. Zevallos, Saral Mehra, Mark L. Urken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Background Review patient and defect factors in which this donor site is an optimal choice for reconstruction and to discuss strategies to overcome the perceived drawbacks of this system of flaps. Methods A retrospective medical chart review was conducted on all patients who underwent the subscapular system of free flaps for head and neck reconstruction. Results Ninety-eight reconstructions were performed for mandibular defects, 4 for maxillary defects alone and 3 for combined mandible-maxilla defects. The overall success rate was 98%. Conclusion The subscapular system of free flaps is an excellent option in patients for whom the alternative donor sites are either not usable or lack the associated soft tissue elements required for a successful reconstruction. This flap should also be considered as a first choice for patients with complex/extensive surgical defects requiring multiple, independently mobile, soft tissue components; in patients who will benefit from a large muscle flap placed over the vital structures in the neck; patients of advanced age; and patients in whom early mobilization is critical.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1200-1206
Number of pages7
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • mandibular reconstruction
  • maxillary reconstruction
  • osteocutaneous and fasciocutaneous flaps
  • scapular flap
  • subscapular vessels


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