Objectives: Aggressive surgical debridement is required in cervical necrotizing fasciitis, and in severe defects, subsequent free tissue transfer might be necessary. However, there is concern that the inflammatory environment of the infection site may threaten free flap viability, particularly with concerns for thrombosis of feeding vessels and compromised tissue integration. Cases in the head and neck area are rare, so there are limited data regarding outcomes of free tissue transfer in these patients. Methods: A retrospective chart review assessed patients with cervical necrotizing fasciitis treated at an academic tertiary hospital between 2015 and 2021. Twenty-five patients were identified, and eight required free tissue transfer after adequate surgical debridement. Treatment, hospital course, and demographic data were collected on these eight patients. Results: All flaps had full survival at follow up (median follow up 3 months, range 1-39 months) without concerns for vascular compromise. Conclusion: These data suggest that in patients with large soft tissue defects due to cervical necrotizing fasciitis, free tissue transfer may be a safe treatment modality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-232
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • deep neck infection
  • free flap reconstruction
  • free tissue transfer
  • head and neck surgery
  • otolaryngology


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