Optimizing value in head and neck cancer free flap surgery

Harrison Cash, Marianne Abouyared, Jeffrey J. Houlton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose of reviewValue has become an increasingly important topic in healthcare delivery as our systems attempt to deliver increased value to patients at lower costs. This review highlights research performed regarding value for head and neck cancer reconstruction in three evolving areas: care pathway development, virtual surgical planning (VSP), and free flap versus locoregional flap reconstruction.Recent findingsImprovements in quality-driven patient care in head and neck free tissue transfer are possible in a number of areas. Care pathways and appropriate management of patients prone to comorbidities decrease hospital length of stay and readmission rates. Further, high-cost hospital stays partially driven by ICU admissions may be reduced by step-down units. Intraoperatively, VSP may reduce operative time in difficult cases and careful selection of free versus locoregional flap reconstruction may decrease cost, operative time, and complications after surgery.SummaryHead and neck reconstruction is a costly endeavor both for the patient and the healthcare system. Careful consideration of practices which may improve outcomes for patients while maximizing efficiency is necessary in our changing healthcare landscape, and providers should identify areas for improvement in their own practices. Further study within the field of head and neck oncology that are specific and data-driven are necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)413-419
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • oncology
  • reconstruction
  • value

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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