Free Tissue Transfer for Head and Neck Reconstruction in Solid Organ Transplant Patients

Head Neck. 2012 Aug;34(8):1143-6. doi: 10.1002/hed.21893. Epub 2011 Nov 11.


Background: Patients with head and neck malignancies who have had solid organ transplant and require free tissue transfer are a unique population. This study was performed to evaluate the effect of immunosuppression on the rate of perioperative complications and the success of free tissue transfer in the head and neck.

Methods: Complications in solid organ transplant patients undergoing free tissue transfer for reconstruction of head and neck malignancies from 1998 to 2010 were evaluated.

Results: A total of 22 flaps in 17 patients were performed. Eight patients (11 of 22 flaps) had complications. The median hospital stay was 6 days (range, 4-26 days). The median length of follow-up was 13.5 months (range, 3.5-49.9 months).

Conclusions: Solid organ transplant patients are at an increased risk of de novo malignancies due to chronic immunosuppression. This study demonstrates that free tissue transfer is a viable option in transplant patients with morbidity similar to nontransplant patients.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carcinoma / surgery
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Free Tissue Flaps* / adverse effects
  • Graft Rejection
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Hematoma / etiology
  • Histiocytoma, Malignant Fibrous / surgery
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Length of Stay
  • Middle Aged
  • Necrosis
  • Organ Transplantation*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Seroma / etiology
  • Surgical Wound Dehiscence / etiology
  • Surgical Wound Infection / etiology


  • Immunosuppressive Agents