Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 562–569 | Cite as

Use of Extended Lateral Upper Arm Free Flap for Tongue Reconstruction After Radical Glossectomy for Tongue Cancer

  • Xu-Dong Yang
  • Su-Feng Zhao
  • Yu-Xin Wang
  • Wei Li
  • Qian Zhang
  • Xiao-Wei Hong
  • Jian-Min Wen
  • Qin-Gang HuEmail author
Original Article General Reconstruction



This study evaluated the safety and effectiveness of the extended lateral arm free flap (ELAFF) for repair of partial tongue defects after radical resection of tongue cancer.


The study included nine consecutive patients who underwent repair of a partial tongue defect with an ELAFF after radical resection of tongue cancer from November 2010 to December 2013. Lesions were at the tip or margin of the tongue. Details of the reconstructive surgery, donor-site and recipient-site morbidity, and functional and esthetic outcomes were evaluated during a minimum of 12 months follow-up. Patient-reported Visual Analog Scale (VAS) scores on a scale of 0 (minimum satisfaction) to 10 (maximum satisfaction) were used to evaluate esthetic outcomes.


All patients were followed up for 12 months (median 24 months). The overall survival rate was 88 % (8/9). The donor site was closed primarily in all patients. The most frequent donor-site morbidity was a broad scar. Poor functional outcomes were associated with postoperative adjuvant radiotherapy. The shape and function of the reconstructed tongue were satisfactory. VAS scores (mean ± SD) for patient satisfaction with recipient-site and donor-site esthetics were 6.92 ± 1.70 and 7.33 ± 2.01, respectively.


The ELAFF is a safe and effective option for repair of partial tongue defects after radical resection of tongue cancer.

Level of Evidence V

This journal requires that authors assign a level of evidence to each submission to which Evidence-Based Medicine rankings are applicable. This excludes Review Articles, Book Reviews, and manuscripts that concern Basic Science, Animal Studies, Cadaver Studies, and Experimental Studies. For a full description of these Evidence-Based Medicine ratings, please refer to the Table of Contents or the online Instructions to Authors


Lateral upper arm free flap Tongue cancer Tongue reconstruction Tongue repair Complications Microsurgery 



We thank Medjaden Bioscience Limited for assisting in the preparation of this manuscript. This study was funded by the National Key Clinical Specialty Construction Project (2011); Jiangsu Provincial Clinical Medicine of Science and Technology Project (BL2012017, BL2013005); Nanjing Tumor Clinical Medicine Centers.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Ethical standard

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York and International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xu-Dong Yang
    • 1
  • Su-Feng Zhao
    • 1
  • Yu-Xin Wang
    • 1
  • Wei Li
    • 1
  • Qian Zhang
    • 1
  • Xiao-Wei Hong
    • 1
  • Jian-Min Wen
    • 1
  • Qin-Gang Hu
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Oral and Maxillofacial SurgeryNanjing Stomatological Hospital, Medical School of Nanjing UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China

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