Supraclavicular flap practice patterns and outcomes: A survey of 221 AHNS surgeons

Andrew T. Day*, Liyang Tang, Kevin Emerick, Urjeet A Patel, Daniel G. Deschler, Jeremy D. Richmon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objectives: To describe American Head and Neck Society (AHNS) surgeon supraclavicular flap (SCF) practice patterns and to identify variables associated with SCF complications. Methods: The design is a cross-sectional study. An online survey was distributed to 782 AHNS surgeons between November 11, 2016, and December 31, 2016. The primary outcome was frequency of SCF complications. Independent variables included demographics, training, practice patterns, and SCF techniques. Results: Adequate survey responses were obtained from 221 AHNS surgeons. Among these, 54.3% (n = 120) performed supraclavicular flaps (SCFs). Most surgeons used the SCF for cutaneous (n = 85; 78.7%) or parotid–temporal bone (n = 59; 54.6%) defects. Nearly one-third (n = 31; 29.8%) of surgeons experienced more than a “few” SCF complications. Surgeons experienced fewer pectoralis major flap (P < 0.001) and radial forearm free flap (P < 0.001) complications compared to SCF complications. Univariate analysis demonstrated no association between surgeons with “few” SCF complications and Doppler use in SCF design (P = 0.90), harvest location (P = 0.51), and pedicle skeletonization (P = 0.25). Multivariable logistic regression revealed that surgeons performing more than 30 SCFs compared to less than or equal to 30 SCFs had a greater odds of having “few” SCF complications (odds ratio 7.1, 95% confidence interval [1.1–43.9], P = 0.04). Conclusion: A majority of surgeons performing SCFs use the flap to reconstruct cutaneous and parotid–temporal bone defects. The significance of relatively higher SCF complications compared to other routine flaps should be explored further. Surgeon experience with the SCF appears to be significantly associated with SCF success, whereas training characteristics, practice patterns, and technical variations may not be associated with SCF outcomes. Level of Evidence: NA. Laryngoscope, 129:2012–2019, 2019.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2012-2019
Number of pages8
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019



  • Supraclavicular flap
  • head and neck
  • outcomes
  • reconstruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology

Cite this

Day, A. T., Tang, L., Emerick, K., Patel, U. A., Deschler, D. G., & Richmon, J. D. (2019). Supraclavicular flap practice patterns and outcomes: A survey of 221 AHNS surgeons. Laryngoscope, 129(9), 2012-2019.