Anterolateral thigh flap for reconstruction of head and neck defects

Y. Kimata, K. Uchiyama, M. Sakuraba, S. Ebihara, T. Nakatsuka, K. Harii

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The anterolateral thigh (AL-T) flap has many advantages in head and neck reconstruction, because of its long and wide vascular pedicle (about 2 mm in diameter), relatively thin skin, and good pliability. Elevation of the flap is possible simultaneously with tumor resection at the supine position and time for completion of the operation is thereby shortened. Furthermore, an AL-T flap can be used as a thinned flap, an adipofascial flap, a sensate flap, or combined with another flap where the pedicle is anastomosed to the branches of the AL-T flap pedicle. However, several anatomical variations have been identified. From our experiences, septocutaneous perforators were found in 28 of 74 cases (37.8%), and no perforators were found in 4 cases (5.4%). Musculocutaneous perforators which require a complicated procedure for dissection (81.9%) were much more common than septocutaneous perforators (18.2%). The incidence of long-term morbidity with the AL-T flap is low but it is increased when the flap includes the vastus lateralis muscle or is wider and requires additional skin grafting at the donor site. The AL-T flap has many advantages and can be used to reconstruct many types of head and neck defects. However, anatomic variations and donorsite morbidity must be considered if the flap is to be used safely and reliably.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-145
Number of pages9
JournalJapanese Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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