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Pectoralis major flap reconstruction in the prevention of wound breakdown and fistula formation after salvage laryngectomy: a controlled study




Patients undergoing salvage laryngeal surgery after high-dose radiotherapy or concurrent chemotherapy/radiation therapy regimen are more prone to develop pharyngocutaneous fistulas (PCFs). The fistula rates reported are as high as 70%.

Aim of the study

The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of pectoralis major muscle flap (PMF) in prevention of fistula formation and in enhancing wound healing in patients undergoing salvage laryngectomy.

Patients and methods

We compared results from patients of salvage laryngectomy repaired with pectoralis major flap with those of a similar group repaired by primary wound closure in 36 consecutive patients. Group A included 16 patients who underwent PMF following salvage total laryngectomy (12 male and four female patients; median age 56 years; interquartile range, 49.8–61.8). The other group included 20 patients who underwent primary closure of the wound without PMF (group B) (15 male and five female patients; median age 43 years; interquartile range, 36–54). Minimum follow-up in both groups was 3 months.


The incidence of PCF in group A was 6.2% and that of wound gap was 6.2%, and there was no carotid blowout. The results in group B were as follows: 60% PCF rate and poor wound healing with gapping in 40% of patients and carotid blowout in 25% of patients (P < 0.001). The mean duration to fistula closure was 20 days in group A compared with 57.5 days in group B.


Pectoralis major flap will give the patients the advantages of less fistula formation, good wound healing, early oral feeding, short hospital stay and protection against catastrophic vascular blowouts.


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Correspondence to Reda M. Sabra MD.

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Sabra, R.M., Taha, M.S., Hamdy, T.A. et al. Pectoralis major flap reconstruction in the prevention of wound breakdown and fistula formation after salvage laryngectomy: a controlled study. Egypt J Otolaryngol 32, 32–36 (2016).

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