Prophylactic fasciotomy of the anterolateral thigh donor site in head and neck reconstruction.

Journal: American Journal Of Otolaryngology

Background: The free anterolateral thigh (ALT) flap is a versatile reconstructive option for head and neck defects. Donor site complications are rare but severe; with wound dehiscence, need for secondary closure, and compartment syndrome reported.

Objective: We propose prophylactic thigh fasciotomy as a surgical technique to facilitate primary closure while preventing donor site complications during ALT flap harvest.

Methods: We examined donor site wound characteristics, recipient site wound characteristics, and clinical outcomes for 24 consecutive ALT flaps performed for head and neck reconstruction from 2016 to 2018. All ALT donor sites underwent prophylactic fasciotomy.

Results: There were no incidents of thigh compartment syndrome or wound dehiscence of donor site; one patient underwent primary donor site skin grafting.

Conclusions: Prophylactic thigh fasciotomy allows mobilization of soft tissue to facilitate primary tension-free closure of the ALT donor site even for free flaps with a large skin component, while reducing the possibility of compartment syndrome.

Katherine Sadaniantz, Lauren Daly, Jing Qin, Jeremiah Tracy
Relevant Conditions

Compartment Syndrome

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