Skin-flap thickness is an important consideration when choosing a free flap for head and neck reconstruction. The anterolateral thigh flap, the rectus abdominis flap, and the radial forearm flap, which included the epidermis, the dermal, and the subcutaneous layers, were measured using ultrasonography in 31 patients. The mean skin and subcutaneous thickness of the anterolateral thigh flap was 7.1 mm; the rectus abdominis flap was 13.7 mm; and the radial forearm flap was 2.1 mm. Further analysis revealed a statistically significant difference among the skin and subcutaneous thickness of the three flap groups. Of the 44 anterolateral thigh flap transfers done for head and neck reconstruction after cancer ablative surgery, 41 (93.2 percent) were transferred successfully. The anterolateral thigh flap creates a moderately thick skin flap, and is less variable in thickness across its area than is the rectus abdominis flap. The flap is adaptable for reconstruction of head and neck soft-tissue defects.
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