Secondary soft tissue reconstruction may be necessary following surgery of the head and neck region. These areas of the body are prone to secondary soft tissue deficits most often as a result of surgical therapy for malignant diseases and less commonly due to benign tumors traumatic injuries, complicated wounds, inadequate surgical planning, or the chronic effects of radiotherapy. The introduction of microsurgery and soft tissue transfer in the 1980s revolutionized the field of reconstructive surgery of the head and neck allowing surgeons to perform more aggressive and radical resections. Over time, refinement in flap selection and surgical technique has led the way to improve aesthetic outcomes and functionality while concomitantly minimizing donor-site morbidity. Today, surgeons can achieve higher reconstructive requirements by designing composite flaps to meet exact patient needs. This chapter highlights important aspects of the evaluation and management of soft tissue defects of the head and neck.
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