Head and Neck Cancer Reconstruction
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Following the Treatment of head and neck cancer, patients often require a reconstruction to improve post-treatment cosmetics, swallowing, or speaking
Head and neck reconstruction can require the use of skin and/or bone to replace diseased tissue. Transplantation of tissue involves the removal of tissue from elsewhere in the body and hooking up the blood supply in the neck. The tissue is usually either soft-tissue alone or bone and soft-tissue. The free tissue used to reconstruct the tumour defect is called a “free flap” because the tissue is completely removed from one part of the body and transferred to another as a free piece of tissue.
This procedure is followed by an intense recovery procedure. Dr. Date will discuss how long it will be before you can return to your normal level of activity and work. After surgery, you will receive detailed instructions about your post-surgical care, including information about:
- Drains, if they have been placed
- Normal symptoms you will experience
- Potential signs of complication
It is vitally important that you follow all patient care instructions provided. This will include information about wearing compression garments, care of your drains, taking an antibiotic if prescribed and the level and type of activity that is safe.
Every procedure involves inherent risks. Although serious complications are extremely rare, Dr. Date educates every patient about potential risks.
Those risks can include scarring, the opening of the wound, discomfort for several days, bruising around the surgical sites, infection, bleeding, skin necrosis and general anaesthesia-related issues.