Systematic Review of Supraclavicular Artery Island Flap vs Free Flap in Head and Neck Reconstruction

Daniel C. Sukato, Alisa Timashpolsky, George Ferzli, Richard M. Rosenfeld, Eli A. Gordin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objective: The aim of this systematic review is to compare the surgical outcomes of supraclavicular artery island flap (SCAIF) and free tissue transfer (FTT) in head and neck reconstruction. Data Sources: PubMed, Web of Science, and EMBASE databases. Review Methods: Independent screening and data extraction were performed by 2 authors. Only studies that directly compared SCAIF and FTT were included. Data were pooled with random-effects meta-analysis to determine the standardized mean differences (SMDs), risk differences, and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Heterogeneity was assessed using the I 2 statistics. The Methodological Index for Non-Randomized Studies tool was used to evaluate extent of bias in studies. Results: The initial query yielded 661 results, of which 4 comparative studies remained for final analysis. The pooled sample sizes for the SCAIF and FTT cohorts were 100 and 84, respectively. SCAIF was associated with reduction of operative time by a large effect size (SMD, 1.65; 95% confidence interval, 0.78-2.52). The harvested flap areas and perioperative complications, including rates of total flap loss, partial flap necrosis, and recipient/donor site dehiscences, were comparable between the 2 procedures with low to high heterogeneity among studies. Conclusion: SCAIF requires less operative time and has comparable short-term perioperative results to FTT. The findings of this study support the viability of SCAIF as an alternative to FTT and provide evidence for its inclusion in the reconstructive armamentarium of major head and neck ablation and trauma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-222
Number of pages8
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019


  • free flap
  • free tissue transfer
  • head and neck reconstruction
  • meta-analysis
  • regional pedicled flap
  • supraclavicular artery island flap
  • systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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