Infrahyoid myocutaneous flap: A systematic review

Am J Otolaryngol. Nov-Dec 2021;42(6):103133. doi: 10.1016/j.amjoto.2021.103133. Epub 2021 Jun 19.


Introduction: The infrahyoid myocutaneous flap (IHMCF) is an often-overlooked flap of the anterior neck used for reconstruction of oral cavity and laryngopharyngeal defects. The primary goal of this systematic review is to evaluate the postoperative outcomes and efficacy of this flap.

Methods: A comprehensive search of PubMed, Biological Abstracts, CINAHL Plus, and Web of Science was conducted. Two researchers independently scrutinized the studies to determine inclusions based on relevance, sample size, and English language publications.

Results: Twenty-eight studies containing 1027 IHMCF cases met the inclusion criteria. Primary outcomes included flap necrosis and postoperative functional outcomes. The rate of flap survival was 99%. Total skin necrosis and partial skin necrosis were minor complications that occurred in 2.5% and 5.8% of cases respectively. Poor speech and swallowing outcomes were reported in 6.4% and 6.5% of cases respectively. The included studies were predominantly retrospective. An average MINORS score of 9.6 suggests moderate bias among the studies.

Conclusions: The IHMCF is both safe and effective for repairing medium sized mucosal lesions of the head and neck region in carefully selected patients. IHMCF use in oral cavity reconstruction is particularly appealing although functional outcomes remain difficult to statistically assess. Complications of IHMCFs are rare and often minor. To ensure the best outcome, pre-surgical planning needs to be conducted and all contraindications should be respected. Further large prospective multi-centered trials are needed for more accurate analysis.

Keywords: Head and neck cancer; Infrahyoid myocutaneous pedicled flap; Surgery.

Publication types

  • Review