Head & Neck – Post Procedure Facts & Advice

Post-operative care for Head and Neck Reconstructions

  • Post-operatively you will stay overnight in the intensive care unit where they will monitor your flap regularly for blood flow.
  • You will usually leave the intensive care unit the following day.
  • There will be drains in the donor and recipient site.
  • You will be able to shower and keep the wounds dry.
  • If you have a tracheotomy this is usually removed at the 4th or 5th postoperative day.
  • If the donor site is the arm or forearm the upper limb will need to be elevated.
  • Antibiotics are given routinely as are analgesics.
  • You will usually be on a PCA for pain treatment, after 2 to 3 days the PCA comes down and your pain is controlled on oral analgesics.
  • Antibiotics are usually continued intravenously for a few days and then orally thereafter.
  • If you have a tracheostomy this will often be removed once you are stable at about 4 to 5 days post-operatively.
  • If you have had an ? reconstruction you will have a nasogastric tube in place to feed you. This will be removed once oral intake can be re-instructed at about 7 days.  This tube is then removed.
  • Sutures will be removed at the 7 to 10 day mark.