Clinical and Surgical Outcomes in Extensive Scalp Reconstruction after Oncologic Resection: A Comparison of Anterolateral Thigh, Latissimus Dorsi and Omental Free Flaps

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Microsurgical scalp reconstruction is indicated in patients with large scalp defects. The aim of this study was to compare the outcomes of scalp reconstruction in oncologic patients reconstructed with latissimus dorsi (LD), anterolateral thigh (ALT), and omental (OM) free flaps. Thirty oncologic patients underwent scalp reconstruction with LD (10), ALT (11), and OM (9) flaps. The length of the vascular pedicle, the operation time, the possibility of a two-team approach, the length of hospital stays, the complications, and the aesthetic results were evaluated. The OM flap was the flap with the shortest vascular pedicle length with a mean of 6.26 ± 0.16 cm, compared to the LD flap, which was 12.34 ± 0.55 cm and the ALT flap with 13.20 ± 0.26 cm (p < 0.05). The average time of surgery was 6.6 ± 0.14 h in patients reconstructed with OM, compared to the LD flap, which was 8.91 ± 0.32 h and the ALT flap with 7.53 ± 0.22 h (p < 0.05). A two-team approach was performed in all patients for OM flaps and ALT flaps, but only in two patients reconstructed with the LD flap (p < 0.001). In patients reconstructed with the OM flap, a very satisfactory or satisfactory result was reported in seven patients (77.8%). Eight patients reported a very unsatisfactory or unsatisfactory result with LD flap (80%) and 10 patients with ALT flap (90.9%) (p = 0.002). The mean hospital stay after surgery was not statistically significant (p > 0.05). As for complications, two patients reconstructed with OM flap, five LT flaps, and two ALT flaps developed complications, not statistically significant (p = 0.235). Omental flap, latissimus dorsi flap, and anterolateral thigh flap fulfill most of the characteristics for complex scalp reconstruction. The decision on which flap to use should be based on clinical aspects of the patients taking into account that the three flaps show similar rates of complications and length of hospital stay. Regarding the aesthetic outcome, OM flap or LD flap should be considered for reconstruction of extensive scalp defects.