Arch Plast Surg.  2021 Nov;48(6):646-650. 10.5999/aps.2021.00486.

Radial forearm free flap in a patient with an unusual radial artery variation: a case report

  • 1Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Microsurgery, Careggi University Hospital, Florence, Italy


Head and neck reconstruction poses unique challenges in rehabilitating surgical defects in terms of integrity, function, and form. The radial forearm free flap (RFFF) has been widely used for defect coverage, especially in the head and neck area, but its versatility allows it to be used for soft-tissue reconstruction in various parts of the body. The vascular features of the flap are quite constant and reliable. Nevertheless, abnormalities of the forearm vascular tree have been described over the decades. We report a case of intraoral reconstruction after verrucous carcinoma recurrence in a 74-year-old woman with an unusual forearm flap, which we called the median forearm free flap, based on a median branch of the radial artery that was preoperatively detected using handheld Doppler ultrasonography. The distally located skin paddle was predominantly supplied by the aberrant median vessel with its perforators. The flap was thus safely harvested with this atypical pedicle. Successful reconstruction of the intraoral defect was achieved, with an uneventful postoperative course.


Perforator flap / Free tissue flaps / Radial artery / Forearm / Head and neck neoplasm
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