Aim: To assess the donor site morbidity of radial forearm free flap (RFFF) harvest. Method: Thirty-seven consecutive patients who underwent surgery for head and neck cancer with primary RFFF reconstruction underwent forearm function tests postoperatively (mean follow-up time 7 weeks). Measurements were performed of skin temperature at digits I and V at room conditions and after submersion into iced water. Grip and pinch strength (in kg/m2), and range of wrist movement (degrees of flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, pronation, supination) were measured. Patients served as their own controls by performing each test on both arms (treatment/ control design). Statistical data processing was done with the one-sample and paired samples /-tests. Results: Resting skin temperature was decreased 0.69 (P < 0.001) and 0.31 (P = 0.048) degrees Celsius for digits I and V, respectively, for treated sides. Skin temperature was decreased in all hands after submersion into iced water, but after 1, 3 or 5 min, no statistically significant differences were found between donor and non-donor sides. The grip and pinch tests were also not statistically different between donor and non-donor sides. Wrist movement was found to be similar between donor and non-donor sides. Conclusion: Harvest of the RFFF does not interfere with postoperative forearm function.
|Issue number||SUPPL. 1|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Dec 2001|