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‘Sit and tilt’ preparation for subscapular system free flaps

  • J Mark (a1), H Patwa (a1), M S Costello (a2) and Y Patil (a1)



The ablation of advanced head and neck cancer often results in large three-dimensional defects that require free tissue transfer to optimally address functional and cosmetic issues. The subscapular system is a highly versatile donor site for flaps used for head and neck reconstruction. Traditional methods of harvesting subscapular flaps require repositioning and re-preparing, which significantly increases the operative time and prevents simultaneous harvesting of the flap.


This paper presents our experience of a single-stage ‘sit and tilt’ technique, which provides a convenient method for harvesting subscapular system free flaps without significant repositioning.

Results and conclusion:

This technique was used for a variety of head and neck defects, and body habitus did not seem to affect free tissue harvesting. It is hoped that utilisation of this preparation and harvesting technique will make head and neck surgeons more willing to take advantage of the subscapular system.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Dr Yash Patil, Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, ML 0528, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA Fax: +1 (513) 558 5203 E-mail:


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The Journal of Laryngology & Otology
  • ISSN: 0022-2151
  • EISSN: 1748-5460
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-laryngology-and-otology
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