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Journal of Skin Cancer
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 742303, 6 pages
Review Article

The Role of Free Tissue Transfer in Merkel Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck

Department of Otolaryngology, The Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, NY 10029, USA

Received 30 April 2012; Accepted 8 July 2012

Academic Editor: Boban M. Erovic

Copyright © 2012 Aldo V. Londino III and Brett A. Miles. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is an uncommon neuroendocrine malignancy with a propensity for the head and neck. It typically presents asymptomatically in elderly Caucasians and is characterized by early local and regional spread. There is currently limited data on the appropriate algorithm for treatment of MCC. However, multimodal therapy with wide surgical excision with or without radiation therapy has become standard of care. The location of the primary tumor and intensive adjuvant therapy is often required, provides a challenge to the reconstructive head and neck surgeon. Occasionally, free tissue transfer reconstructive techniques are employed in the reconstruction of MCC defects. This paper will discuss the role of free tissue transfer as a reconstructive option after surgery for advanced head and neck MCC.