Background: Because of the difficulty of airtight sealing and risk of salivary contamination, negative-pressure wound therapy (NPWT) has rarely been applied for postoperative fistula following head and neck surgery; thus, its utility remains unclear. Methods: We applied NPWT in 34 patients who developed orocutaneous and pharyngocutaneous fistula after head and neck surgery. Here we retrospectively analyzed the utility of NPWT for managing those fistulas. Results: Thirty-two patients (94.1%) underwent NPWT as scheduled without adverse events. In 28 patients (82.4%), fistula closure was completed only by NPWT, and the mean period to fistula closure was 30.4 days. The mean period to closure did not differ significantly between fistulas with (21.7 days) and without (39.1 days) previous irradiation. Conclusions: Airtight sealing can be maintained and postoperative fistula can be closed by NPWT with a high success rate, even after previous irradiation. NPWT is an effective and minimally invasive treatment for postoperative fistula.
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