Infrahyoid myofascial flap for tongue reconstruction

  • Jochen P. Windfuhr
  • Stephan Remmert
Head and Neck


For selected cases, reconstruction of the tongue may be required after tumor removal. This study was undertaken to demonstrate a simplified concept of tongue reconstruction with emphasis on infrahyoid myofascial flaps (IMF). The defects of the tongue were classified in 23 patients according to the extent of tumor growth, functional and surgical aspects. The oral tongue (OT; n = 1), base of tongue (BT; n = 12) or both areas (OT and BT; n = 10) were involved, with (n = 14) or without (n = 9) infiltration of adjacent tissues. Minor defects (extent ¼ or less) required no reconstructive procedure at any area. Major defect closure (extent ½–3/4) was accomplished with a combination of IMF covered by a radial forearm flap (RFF). A complete reconstruction of the OT was achieved with a combination of a bilateral IMF covered by a RFF. Whenever the complete BT has to be removed, interposition of a vein graft to establish a sufficient arterial blood supply to the remaining OT is mandatory. Moreover, a larynx lift to prevent aspiration is recommendable. Resection of adjacent soft tissues requires a larger RFF (OT; BT) or flaps from the shoulder-back region (BT and OT). Whenever the integrity of the mandible has to be sacrificed, a free fibula graft serves as an excellent tool for reconstruction. IMF serves as a reliable tool for minor or major reconstructive procedures of the tongue. Reliability and versatility of IMF may contribute to a reduced time required for surgery since harvesting is performed in the neck area immediately after neck dissection. Moreover, harvesting of the IMF does not result in an increased postoperative morbidity. Hence, functional restoration can be achieved with a more cost-effective procedure.


Neurovascular flap Tongue carcinoma Infrahyoidal flap Radial forearm flap Latissimus dorsi flap 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Plastic Head and Neck SurgerySt. Anna HospitalDuisburgGermany

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