To determine if oropharyngoplasty using a Gehanno technique of superior constrictor velopharyngoplasty, base of tongue mounding, and primary hypopharyngeal closure in combination with template-based revascularized free tissue transfer is effective for reconstruction of the oropharyngeal defect.
Prospective case series.
Tertiary care academic medical center.
The study population comprised 25 patients (21 men and 4 women; mean age, 55.3 years) presenting from January 1998 to January 2001 with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma. A comparison was performed based on the percentage of resection of the soft palate (group 1, ≤50% palate; group 2, >50% palate).
Of the 25 patients, 24 (96%) received radiotherapy. The donor sites were radial forearm for 23 of 25 patients (92%) and lateral arm for 2 of 25 patients (8%). The mean area was 92 cm2 (range, 25-150 cm2), and the mean length of the velopharyngoplasty component of the oropharyngoplasty was 2.15 cm (range, 1-3 cm).
Main Outcome Measures
Gastrostomy tube dependence, major and minor complications, time to oral intake, speech and swallowing assessment, and quality-of-life assessment.
Of the 25 patients, 2 (8%) remain gastrostomy dependent; 6 (24%) developed major complications; and 7 (28%) developed minor complications. Speech in both groups 1 and 2 was considered understandable most of the time, with occasional repetition. The group 1 patient with a median assessment score could eat a solid diet without restriction of place or person, whereas the group 2 patient with a median assessment score could eat a soft, moist diet with selected persons in selected places.
Integration of oropharyngoplasty with template-based revascularized free tissue transfer produced speech results that were independent of palate defect size, and swallow function test results were similar to other published reconstructive techniques.