Repair of post-laryngectomy pharyngocutaneous fistulas using a pectoralis major flap
Abstract Introduction: The pectoralis major flap is a reconstructive option to consider in the treatment of pharyngocutaneous fistula after a total laryngectomy. There are not large studies assessing variables related to pharyngocutaneous fistula recurrence after removal of the larynx. Our objectives were to review the results obtained with this type of treatment when pharyngocutaneous fistula appears in laryngectomized patients, and to evaluate variables related to the results. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed our results using either a myocutaneous or fasciomuscular pectoralis major flap to repair pharyngocutaneous fistula in 50 patients. Results: There were no cases of flap necrosis. Oral intake after fistula repair with a pectoralis major flap was restored in 94% of cases. Fistula recurrence occurred in 22 cases (44%), and it was associated with a lengthening of the hospital stay. Performing the flap as an emergency procedure was associated with a significantly higher risk of fistula recurrence. Hospital stay was significantly shorter when a salivary tube was placed. Conclusions: The pectoralis major flap is a useful approach to repair pharyngocutaneous fistula. Placing salivary tubes during fistula repair significantly reduces hospital stay and complication severity in case of pharyngocutaneous fistula recurrence.