The use of anterolateral thigh flap (ALTF) for functional tongue reconstruction with postoperative quality of live evaluati
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The use of microsurgery for oral reconstruction of cancer patients, has become standard treatment in restoring oral function. The free anterolateral thigh flap is one of the most preferred options in reconstruction after total, subtotal or hemiresection of the tonque due to squamous cell cancer. The aim of the study was to present the reconstructive method using anterolateral thigh free flap with evaluation of quality of live. Material and methods. Clinical material includes 46 consecutive patients with tongue cancer, who underwent complex surgical treatment between 2009 and 2011. There were 36 males and 10 females and the M: F ratio was 3.6: 1. All of them were reconstructed using the anterolateral thigh free flap. The quality of life was evaluated 6 months after completing the treatment, based on postoperative functional and aesthetic status. Results. The overall flap survival rate was 96%. Surgical complications were observed in 8 patients (17%). Donor site was closed primarly in 42 cases and in remaining 4 skin graft was required. In all 46 cases understandable speech and return to unrestricted diet mastication and swallowing were achieved. The mean follow-up period after treatment was 32 months. Analysis of aesthetic effects evaluated in 23 cases and shows generally very good results. According to average transformed scores the QOL can be characterized as excellent for >90, very good for 76-90, good for 51-75, moderate for 25-50 and bad for <25 points. Conclusions. Anterolateral thigh flap, with its versatility in design, long pedicle with a suitable vessel diameter, low donor site morbidity, and very good aesthetic effects, could be the ideal flap for functional tongue reconstruction.
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