Pharyngoesophageal reconstruction with free jejunum or radial forearm flap as diversionary conduit: Functional outcomes of patients with persistent dysphagia and aspiration

Losco L., Aksoyler D. Y., Chen S., Bolletta A., Velazquez-Mujica J., Di Taranto G., ...More

MICROSURGERY, vol.40, no.6, pp.630-638, 2020 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 40 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/micr.30623
  • Journal Name: MICROSURGERY
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Agricultural & Environmental Science Database, BIOSIS, Biotechnology Research Abstracts, EMBASE, MEDLINE
  • Page Numbers: pp.630-638
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: No


Background A diversion loop provides an alternative pathway for food intake from the bucco-gingival sulcus into the thoracic esophagus. Therefore, the bolus does not pass via pharynx where choking may occur in case of severe dysphagia. The data about outcomes and complications of the diversionary procedure are short and they refer to small cohort with brief follow-up. Methods This retrospective study analyzed data of 48 patients, mean aged 34.3 years (range, 22-58 years), undergoing the creation of a diversion loop in two stages. Patients complained of aspiration, choking, and dysphagia. Swallowing disorders were caused by corrosive injury, radiation damage, or neurologic injury, and were investigated through laryngoscopy and esophagography. A diversion loop was created in 45 cases with free jejunal flap and in 3 cases with radial forearm flap. Complications, functional outcomes, and revision rate were reviewed. The mean follow-up was 26.3 months. Results We reported one failure (2%) and one partial necrosis of the free flaps. The most frequent complication was hematoma (8%). One case of esophagocutaneous fistula (2%) and two cases of stricture (4%) were also observed. Forty-two patients (87%) took all of the daily diet from their mouths through the diversionary conduit. A poor functional outcome was significantly associated with pre-operative radiotherapy (p< .0001). Conclusions The diversion loop offers an alternative route for alimentation. Patients are freed from their choking obsession; moreover, they are rehabilitated into society without the drawbacks of permanent jejunostomy feeding. The technique was upgraded with caudal marginal mandibulectomy to improve the outcomes. Patients undergoing a diversionary procedure due to radiation damage should be carefully informed about the expected functional results.