The lower trapezius musculocutaneous flap for head and neck reconstruction: Two decades of clinical experience

Kuang-Ling Ou, Yang-Hong Dai, Hsian-Jenn Wang, Tim-Mo Chen, Niann-Tzyy Dai, Shun-Cheng Chang, Shou-Cheng Deng, Yuan-Sheng Tzeng, Chih-Hsin Wang, Shyi-Gen Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Microsurgical free flap has gained the popularity over pedicle flap nowadays in the reconstruction of head and neck. However, pedicled flaps remain a promising alternative and have a remarkable position in selected patients. This review study aimed to determine the reliability and versatility of the lower trapezius musculocutaneous flap for reconstructing complex defects in the head and neck. METHODS: Between 1993 and 2012, 22 male and 10 female patients underwent a total of 32 lower trapezius flap reconstructions for complex defects that included neoplasm extirpation (n = 21), radionecrosis (n = 6), dehisced laminectomy (n = 2), pressure sore (n = 2), and necrotizing fasciitis (n = 1). The most common site of defect was the perioral region, followed by the neck, posterior skull, back, temporal region, shoulder, and the upper arm. Flap design was based on the defect size and location, as well as the ability to close the donor site primarily and to preserve muscle function. Outcome has been evaluated by the hospital course, postoperative morbidity, mortality, resultant cosmetics, and function at donor and recipient sites. RESULTS: Stable wound coverage with total flap survival was achieved in 30 (93.75%) patients, 2 patients had partial flap necrosis which required flap reinsertion and skin graft coverage. All donor sites were closed primarily. Seroma developed in 2 (6.25%) patients, which were solved by needle aspiration. All muscle function was preserved. Eight patients died of their primary disease. CONCLUSIONS: For selected patients who have advanced stage cancer, surgical sequelae after free flap surgery, unable to tolerate microsurgery, or special defect location, pedicled lower trapezius musculocutaneous flap provides efficient and effective reconstruction for complex defects especially in the head and neck. Copyright © 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S48-S54
JournalAnnals of Plastic Surgery
Issue numberSUPPL.1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • laminectomy
  • pressure sore
  • radionecrosis
  • squamous cell carcinoma
  • trapezius musculocutaneous flap
  • adult
  • aged
  • article
  • auditory canal
  • back muscle
  • case report
  • dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans
  • ear tumor
  • female
  • head and neck tumor
  • human
  • male
  • methodology
  • middle aged
  • neck dissection
  • plastic surgery
  • retrospective study
  • skin tumor
  • surgical flaps
  • tonsil tumor
  • very elderly
  • wound healing
  • young adult
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell
  • Dermatofibrosarcoma
  • Ear Canal
  • Ear Neoplasms
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck Dissection
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skin Neoplasms
  • Superficial Back Muscles
  • Surgical Flaps
  • Tonsillar Neoplasms
  • Wound Healing
  • Young Adult


Dive into the research topics of 'The lower trapezius musculocutaneous flap for head and neck reconstruction: Two decades of clinical experience'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this