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Kisser, Ulrich; Adderson-Kisser, Christine; Baumeister, Philipp; Reiter, Maximilian (2018): Influence of coupler size on revision rate and timing of revision after free flap tissue transfer in the head and neck. In: European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Vol. 275, No. 1: pp. 199-206
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Microvascular coupler devices have been proven an effective alternative to standard hand-sutured anastomoses in reconstructive surgery. Until now, the influence of the coupler size on the revision rate after free flap tissue transfer in head and neck surgery has not been investigated. Neither has its influence on the timing of venous revisions. A retrospective mono-center cohort study was performed in order to analyze the influence of coupler size on timing and revision rate of microvascular procedures. 437 patients who had undergone surgery between 2009 and 2015 were included. The statistical analysis of coupler size and revision rate due to venous complications showed a significant reduction of more than 40% in the revision rate for each additional mm in the coupler size. We observed revisions due to venous congestion until the fourth day postoperatively within our cohort. However, when the coupler size used was >= 3 mm, no venous congestion occurred later than 12 h after surgery. The quantitative effects of coupler size on the revision rate in head and neck reconstruction were demonstrated for the first time. We recommend spending extra time and effort on dissecting the largest possible vein in order to be able to choose the largest possible coupler size for the venous anastomosis. As a consequence of our findings, we limit our postoperative monitoring for patients with a coupler >= 3 mm to 24 h, as later venous congestions are very unlikely.