Adjustment of radial forearm free flap design around self-inflicted wrist wounds

Zoey E Morton, Paul L Davis, Robert O Brown, Walsh Thomas


The radial forearm free flap (RFFF) is one option of many free-tissue flaps that is frequently selected to reconstruct defects of the head and neck. It is popular due to its relatively thin and pliable associated soft tissue, reliable supplying vasculature, and appropriate diameter and length of the supplying vessels to perform microvascular anastomosis. This case report describes the use of the RFFF to reconstruct an oral cavity defect following tumor resection in a patient who required adjustment of the typical RFFF design. This patient has a significant
psychiatric history leading to self-induced forearm lacerations that resulted in substantial scarring of her bilateral forearms in the anatomical area typically included in the RFFF. Since the RFFF was the optimal reconstructive option
for this patient, the design of the RFFF was able to be moved proximally up her forearm to avoid inclusion of the scars in the flap. Adequate blood flow of the ulnar artery was confirmed with an Allen0s test preoperatively to ensure
the radial artery could be taken as part of the RFFF without causing ischemia of the hand. Following surgical resection of the patient0s tumor, the RFFF was harvested and inset to reconstruct the resulting oral cavity defect. The patient has had no complications following her resection and reconstruction to date. This report highlights the adaptability of the RFFF, allowing adjustments to typical flap design to optimize outcomes for each individualized patient.


Radial forearm free flap; self-inflicted wounds; oral cancer; head and neck reconstruction

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ISSN: 2360-6975