Microvascular Transfer of A Scapular/Parascapular Flap to The Cheek

Microvascular Transfer of A Scapular/Parascapular Flap to The Cheek



The use of scapular and parascapular microvascular free flaps in cheek reconstruction is gaining more popularity (1, 2). These fasciocutaneous flaps have great versatility, allowing for good contour in many types of cheek defect and in cases of facial asymmetry. The flaps also have been used in the lower extremity and hand.


The cutaneous flaps are supplied by the circumflex scapular artery, which emerges from the scapular artery about 4 cm from its origin from the axillary artery (4). The circumflex
scapular artery emerges from the triangular fossa on the back at the edge of the lateral border of the scapula. This space is formed by the long head of the triceps and the teres major and minor muscles (5) (Fig. 139.1). The artery then terminates into two fasciocutaneous branches, one oriented transversely (scapular flap [6]) and one oriented vertically (parascapular flap [7]).

FIGURE 139.1 Vascular anatomy of the scapular region.

Before dividing into terminal branches, the circumflex scapular artery gives off several branches to the lateral border of the scapula in its superior portion. These branches supply the periosteum of the lateral border of the scapula and the attached muscles, thus allowing bone to be harvested with the flap.


Because of the orientation of the fasciocutaneous branches, the flaps can be designed as an ellipse, either horizontally (scapular flap) or vertically (parascapular flap). More commonly, the flap is designed in an oblique configuration between these two orientations to allow easier primary skin closure of the back and a better cosmetic result (Fig. 139.2).

Depending on the laxity of the skin, up to 10 cm of skin width can be harvested and closed primarily. Much larger widths can be harvested with a good blood supply; however, the resultant defect must be skin grafted, or preoperative skin expansion must be planned. The length that can be harvested depends on the patient’s size and can be up to 30 cm. Combinations of cutaneous flaps are possible for larger defects. Even the latissimus dorsi muscle, with or without a cutaneous paddle, may be harvested on the thoracodorsal pedicle if more bulk is necessary; this is rare for defects limited to the cheek. A combination of the two cutaneous territories as two separate paddles can be useful in through-and-through defects to provide both external skin coverage and inner-mouth lining.

FIGURE 139.2 Dorsal aspect of the scapular area with schematic outlining of the various technical possibilities: scapular or parascapular flaps, oblique orientation or in combination.

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Jun 26, 2016 | Posted by in General Surgery | Comments Off on Microvascular Transfer of A Scapular/Parascapular Flap to The Cheek
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