Aims: Free flaps represent an ideal technique for tongue reconstruction. The authors present their experience with 63 cases of tongue reconstruction after glossectomy, partial subtotal and total, in patient with oral cancer. Methods: Between 1992 and 2000, 63 patients was treated with primary tongue reconstruction, 18 rectus abdominis free flaps and 27 forearm flaps were used. In the remaining 18 cases, partial mandibulectomy required additional reconstruction techniques: in 12 case we used a forearm free flap with reconstruction plate, in three cases a forearm and fibular composite flap was performed, in two cases fibular free flaps alone were used, and in the last case a fibular flap was combined with a pectoralis pedicled flap. Evaluation of speech and deglutition was performed during follow-up. Results: All flaps were transferred successfully. Two microvascular complications occurred during the post-operative period; correct diagnosis and prompt treatment saved the flaps. Conclusion: Ours reconstruction techniques offer unquestionable advantages above other reconstructive techniques such as the pedicled flaps: best functional results, less hospitalization period.
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