Platysma myocutaneous flap revised in the free flaps era: clinical experience in 61 patients
Reconstruction of oral cavity and oropharyngeal defects following radical surgery for squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) can be achieved by a variety of options. In selected cases myocutaneous platysma flap (MPF) may be a valid choice. However, several anatomical and oncological controversies on the use of this flap are debated. A retrospective study on 61 patients treated between January 2005 and December 2017 in two referral centres in which MPF was used for the reconstruction of defects following surgical resection of SCC of the oral cavity and oropharynx was conducted. The technique of flap harvesting with anatomic details is described. In all cases the submental artery was sacrificed preserving the facial artery. All clinical data were collected. Tumours involved the oral cavity in 95.1% of cases, and the oropharynx in 4.9%. Pathological staging (TNM 7th edition) of tumours was: pT1 (42.6%), pT2 (39.3%), pT3 (4.9%) and pT4a (13.1%). Success rate of the flap was 93.4%. Four (6.5%) patients developed a partial necrosis of the skin paddle without platysma muscle involvement; none required surgical revision. The mean follow-up was 69 months (5- 153 months). Thirteen patients (21.3%) developed a local recurrence, and in 1 patient was associated with contralateral neck metastasis. The MPF can be a suitable option in head and neck reconstruction of small or medium-sized defects in selected cases. The vascular pedicle can be provided by branches of the facial artery achieving both oncological radicality and optimal flap vascular supply.