Quantitative analysis of free flap volume changes in head and neck reconstruction

Kazuaki Yamaguchi, Yoshihiro Kimata, Satoshi Onoda, Nobuyoshi Mizukawa, Tomoo Onoda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Background The purpose of this study was to determine whether free flap volume decreases or increases in the long-term postoperative period. Methods We used a retrospective analysis of 17 patients to measure muscle and fat volume in free flap with 3-dimensional (3D) images using the AZE Virtual Place Lexus64. Results Seventeen patients underwent free flap reconstruction with rectus abdominis musculocutaneous flaps (n = 11) or anterolateral thigh flaps (n = 6). Median follow-up was 28.9 months (range, 2.1-48.4 months). Total flap volume was significantly decreased in flaps including â¥40% muscle (p =.011). Mean final muscle volume was 50% at an average of 12 months. Final fat volume was significantly higher for cases with no evidence of disease (mean, 116.7%) than for died-of-the-disease cases (mean, 70.3%; p =.007). Conclusion Use of free flaps with a high ratio of fat to muscle is sustainable and can gain volume over time, as transplanted fat can increase depending on host condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1403-1407
Number of pages5
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


  • chronological
  • free flap volume
  • head and neck
  • long-term follow-up
  • quantitative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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