Robotic-assisted FAMM flap for soft palate reconstruction

Steven C. Bonawitz, Umamaheswar Duvvuri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Objectives/Hypothoses: TORS (Trans Oral Robotic Surgery) has been demonstrated to be an acceptable alternative to chemoradiation for the treatment of early stage malignant lesions of the oropharynx, with equivalent tumor control and enhanced functional outcomes. Surgical ablation of tumors of the oropharynx under conditions of limited access, however, creates the need to adapt the robotic platform to surgical reconstruction and to assess reconstructive outcomes. We present our experience with the Facial Artery Musculomucosal (FAMM) flap with robotic assistance for the reconstruction of defects of the soft palate. Methods: We reviewed the records of five patients who underwent combined robot-assisted resection of malignant lesions of the oropharynx with immediate reconstruction. The reconstructions included four ispilateral and one bilateral FAMM flaps. Patients were assessed for complications and functional results. Results: Successful closure of the defect was achieved in all five patients. There were no major complications; however, three patients developed minor wound dehiscence and two were revised at the time of planned subsequent lymphadenectomy. All five patients achieved a good functional outcome. Conclusions: The FAMM flap is reliable and easy to raise and transfer, with the surgical robot making it a good candidate for reconstruction of moderate-sized defects created by TORS applied to malignancies of the soft palate. Minor wound dehiscence is not infrequent, but reconstructive outcomes are nevertheless good. A unilateral FAMM flap will reach to the contralateral border of the uvula and is best limited to defects with a width of 2 cm or less.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)870-874
Number of pages5
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • FAMM flap
  • oropharyngeal
  • robotic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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