Use of the myocutaneous serratus anterior free flap for reconstruction after salvage glossectomy

Stefan Janik, Julian Pyka, Isabella Stanisz, Tamara Wachholbinger, Matthias Leonhard, Imme Roesner, Doris Maria Denk-Linnert, Brett A. Miles, Berit Schneider-Stickler, Boban M. Erovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose: To describe the use of a myocutaneous serratus anterior free flap (SAFF) for tongue reconstruction after salvage subtotal (STG) and total glossectomy (TG). Methods: In this prospective case series, seven patients underwent salvage STG or TG and reconstruction with a myocutaneous SAFF between 10/2015 and 02/2017. Functional and oncologic outcomes were prospectively evaluated. Donor side morbidity was determined using the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) score. Results: SAFF with mean skin paddles of 6.7 cm × 8.7 cm was used in five STG and two TG patients, respectively. There was a 100% flap survival and a mean DASH score of 10.8 reflected normal arm and shoulder function after surgery. One year after salvage surgery, 1 (14.3%) and 4 (57.1%) patients were tracheostomy and gastrostomy tube dependent. Gastrostomy tube dependence was significantly worse in patients with tumors of the base of tongue compared to other tumor sites (p = 0.030) and in patients who underwent transcervical compared to transoral tumor resection (p = 0.008). Local recurrence rate was 57.1% with a disease-free survival of 17.6 months. Conclusion: The myocutaneous SAFF represents a safe and reliable flap for tongue reconstruction after salvage glossectomy with satisfying functional outcomes and low donor side morbidity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-566
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 14 Feb 2019


  • Functional outcomes
  • Myocutaneous SAFF
  • Salvage glossectomy
  • Subtotal glossectomy
  • Total glossectomy


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