Safety of the supraclavicular artery island flap in the setting of neck dissection and radiation therapy

Shantanu N. Razdan, Claudia R. Albornoz, Teresa Ro, Peter G. Cordeiro, Joseph J. Disa, Colleen M. McCarthy, Carrie S. Stern, Evan S. Garfein, Evan Matros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Abstract Background The supraclavicular artery island flap (SAIF) has recently been repopularized as a versatile and reliable option for reconstruction of oncological head and neck defects. Prior ipsilateral neck dissection or irradiation is considered a relative contraindication to its use. The aim of this study was to describe the safety and utility of the SAIF for head and neck reconstruction in the setting of neck dissection and radiation. Methods A retrospective chart review was performed of consecutive SAIF reconstructions at two institutions between May 2011 and 2014. In addition to demographic data, comorbidities, indications, surgical characteristics, data about radiation treatment, and neck dissection were specifically recorded. Donor and recipient site complications were noted. Fisher exact test was performed to analyze if neck dissection or radiation were associated with complications. Results A total of 22 patients underwent SAIF reconstruction for an array of head and neck defects. Donor site infection was noted in one patient. Recipient site complications included, wound dehiscence (n = 2), orocutaneous fistula (n = 1), carotid blowout (n = 1), and total flap loss (n = 1). There was no association between prior neck dissection or radiation treatment and flap loss (p = 1.00). Conclusion The SAIF is safe for use in patients who have had an ipsilateral neck dissection involving level IV or V lymph nodes and/or radiation treatment to the neck. It can be used alone or in combination with other flaps for closure of a variety of head and neck defects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number140277
Pages (from-to)378-383
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of reconstructive microsurgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 13 2015


  • Neck dissection
  • Radiation treatment
  • Supraclavicular artery island flap

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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