Deltopectoral flap revisited in the microvascular era: a single-institution 10-year experience

Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2006 Jan;115(1):35-40. doi: 10.1177/000348940611500106.


Objectives: In 1965, Bakamjian described the deltopectoral (DP) flap as a reconstructive option in head and neck surgery. It served as the premier flap for reconstructing complex head and neck defects until the late 1970s. Today, the DP flap is often overlooked; although its role has diminished, its use is still warranted in certain select clinical situations.

Methods: A retrospective patient chart review of 25 DP flap procedures performed at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and Iowa City Veterans Administration Hospital between January 1, 1991, and June 1, 2002, was undertaken. The data collected included patient demographics and assessment of DP flap survival and its ability to accomplish established preoperative reconstructive goals.

Results: The DP flap was used for the following situations: vascularized skin coverage of the neck, carotid arteries, and face (16 cases), including simultaneous coverage of other reconstructive flaps in 6 cases; controlled orocutaneous fistula development (3 cases) or fistula closure (5 cases); and pharyngoesophageal reconstruction (4 cases). In 3 cases the flap was used for more than one of the preoperative goals described above (n = 25). Minor flap-related complications that required local wound treatment developed in 5 cases (20.0%), but the flaps were successfully salvaged and no subsequent reconstructive procedure was required. In an additional 5 cases (20.0%), the flap failed in some measure to accomplish its preoperative goal, necessitating further surgical reconstruction. Sixteen patients (64%) had undergone previous or simultaneous reconstructive procedures that limited other available reconstructive options.

Conclusions: The technical simplicity of the DP flap, coupled with its predictable vascular supply, has allowed it to maintain a niche role in contemporary reconstructive surgery. The DP flap provides an excellent method of reconstruction in select cases in which vascularized skin coverage of the neck is needed. The DP flap also provides a valuable salvage option in situations in which other reconstructive techniques are not possible.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Head / surgery
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microsurgery / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck / surgery
  • Pectoralis Muscles / transplantation*
  • Plastic Surgery Procedures / methods*
  • Reoperation / methods
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surgical Flaps*
  • Treatment Outcome