Postoperative Controversies in the Management of Free Flap Surgery in the Head and Neck

Steven B. Cannady, Kyle Hatten, Mark K. Wax

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Free tissue transfer is the gold standard for reconstructing head and neck defects. Free flap success approaches 95% in centers with experience, affording unparalleled ability to restore form and function in cancer, trauma, or other major composite tissue loss. It is critical to manage the perioperative variables that predict success; several areas of controversy have not yet reached consensus. This review focuses on postoperative anticoagulation, fluid management, and flap monitoring methods. These areas of controversy potentially influence flap survival. We review published practices considered within the standard of care, why controversy remains, and future directions to reach standardization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-314
Number of pages6
JournalFacial plastic surgery clinics of North America
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Anticoagulation
  • Flap monitoring
  • Fluid management
  • Free flap
  • Head and neck defect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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