Over the past 25 years, free flap reconstruction using microvascular surgery has been demonstrated to be both feasible and efficacious for a variety of reconstructive challenges in head and neck surgery. In some reconstructive tasks, this approach is clearly superior, but it has potential disadvantages that sometimes can be addressed more effectively with alternative reconstructive techniques. There is a need for objective well-designed outcomes studies to help decide which reconstructive techniques best achieve the goals of restoration of form and preservation of function. Their feasibility has been clearly established. It is now time to identify more clearly the clinical settings in which a particular reconstructive approach is preferred.


Schuller et al.—CHAPTER 15

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