The lower trapezius musculocutaneous flap revisited: Versatile coverage for complicated wounds to the posterior cervical and occipital regions based on the deep branch of the transverse cervical artery

Joseph R. Lynch, Juliana E. Hansen, Richard Chaffoo, Alan E. Seyfer

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    46 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    The clinical role of the lower trapezius musculocutaneous flap varies within the literature. Many describe its use in the reconstruction of the lateral neck and facial regions, but very few refer to its use in the posterior cervical and occipital regions. Different vascular pedicles have also been described and effectively used. A retrospective analysis was conducted, reviewing the authors' experience with 13 patients who suffered complex open wounds to the posterior cervical and occipital regions that were treated with a lower trapezius muscle or musculocutaneous flap. All flaps were based on the deep branch of the transverse cervical artery. This pedicle was used to support a relatively large skin segment over the distal portion of the lower trapezius muscle, a margin that, in the authors' experience, extends at least 1 cm beyond the muscular margin. Postoperatively, patients were evaluated based on complications, residual shoulder function, and aesthetic outcome. In addition to the clinical study, cadaveric dissection of the trapezius muscle was conducted on 22 specimens, and the vascular anatomy was confirmed by direct visualization. The authors' experience indicates that the lower trapezius musculocutaneous flap, when based on the deep branch of the transverse cervical artery, provides a reliable alternative for the reconstruction of complicated wounds in the posterior cervical and occipital regions, with the added capability of providing richly vascularized tissue to compromised wounds as far cephalad as the vertex of the skull.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)444-450
    Number of pages7
    JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
    Volume109
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2002

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Surgery

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