Research Article| Volume 60, ISSUE 6, P588-592, June 2007

Long-term functional outcome and satisfaction after radial forearm free flap reconstructions of intraoral malignancy resections

Published:February 26, 2007DOI:



      Evaluation of objective and subjective functional follow-up results of intraoral radial forearm free flap reconstructions.


      A total of 149 patients had received radial forearm free flaps between January 1996 and December 2005. Seventy-two patients completed a European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire-H&N35 (EORTC H&N35) in the follow-up study. Patients were divided according to location of defect (anterior or posterior) or irradiation. Thirty-nine patients with anterior positioned flaps received standardised physical examinations.


      Flap survival was 99.3%. Complications were divided in early (<2 weeks; 23%) and late complications (20%). Most common complications were dehiscence or fistula, responding well to conservative treatment. Analysis of questionnaire subscales showed no statistically significant differences between anterior and posterior defects. Irradiation showed significant impairment for the ability to smell and taste. No important donor site impairment was found.


      The radial forearm free flap is an adequate method for reconstructions after resection of intraoral malignancies. Subjective functional outcome seemed to be defined by adjuvant radiotherapy, patient coping and, to a lesser extent, flap bulk for anterior defects.


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