Background: Head and neck tissue defects after ablative surgery often require complex and composite reconstructions. The superficial circumflex iliac artery perforator (SCIP) flap is an extremely versatile perforator-based flap with minimal donor site morbidity, which may represent the optimal procedure in this setting. Over the last 5 years, we collected a large base of experience, including both simple and chimeric SCIP-based reconstruction, making this flap our first choice for head and neck reconstructions.

Patients and methods: Seventy-three patients undergoing ablative head and neck surgery for oncologic pathologies were treated by means of a SCIP flap reconstruction. Indocyanine green perfusion imaging was performed in all cases.

Results: All the patients were successfully treated with no flap losses were encountered. Twelve patients encountered postoperative complications: in four cases revision surgery was required for venous congestion, while the remaining cases were managed conservatively (four wound dehiscence and three infections). No patients showed donor site complications. The mean follow-up period was 11 months (range 3-24).

Conclusions: Our case series demonstrates the reliability and versatility of the SCIP flap for different kinds of head and neck reconstructions. The chimeric options combined with bone, double skin paddle, and muscle offer a broad variety of functional reconstructive solutions for complex head and neck surgeries. Intraoperative indocyanine green perfusion examination provides a valuable tool to assess and ascertain proper vascularization and post-anastomosis vessel patency in complex microvascular flap-based reconstructions.

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