Submental Island Flap After Prior Contralateral Neck Dissection: A Case Series and Technical Considerations

Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2022 Oct;131(10):1164-1169. doi: 10.1177/00034894211059307. Epub 2021 Nov 26.


Objectives: The submental island flap is a dependable workhorse in head and neck reconstruction. However, the viability of this flap has not been established for oral cavity reconstruction when a contralateral neck dissection has already been performed in an earlier surgical setting. The aim of this study is to highlight technical considerations and outcomes of this approach with a small case series.

Methods: Three cases of oral cavity reconstruction with a submental island flap elevated in the context of a prior contralateral neck dissection are presented.

Results: In all cases, a doppler was used to identify the maintenance of the submental perforator in the neck opposite the previous neck dissection. In 2 cases, level IA was included within the dissection field of the previous neck dissection. Additionally, the old neck scar was included within the skin paddle of the submental island flap in 2 cases. In all cases, excellent healing of the flap was observed without partial or complete loss.

Conclusions: The submental island flap appears to be a reliable reconstruction when a previous contralateral neck dissection has been performed, even when level IA was included in the prior dissection.

Keywords: head and neck oncology; head and neck reconstruction; head and neck squamous cell carcinoma; oral cavity cancer; reconstructive techniques.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Neck Dissection*
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures* / methods
  • Surgical Flaps*
  • Treatment Outcome