Head and neck cancer can be a life-altering diagnosis. It can cause significant changes in functions of daily living that we commonly take for granted, such as speech and swallowing. Surgery is integral to treating these cancers, but it can profoundly impact these functions.
Our experts specialize in reconstructing areas of the head and neck that are afflicted with cancer in order to provide both normal appearance and optimal function. We work closely with cancer surgeons before and during surgery to best design the ideal reconstructive option for each individual patient. Whether it’s recreating the tongue with skin from the forearm, rebuilding the jaw with leg bone or reconstructing the throat with tissue from the thigh, we tailor the surgical approach to the needs of each individual patient.
After treatment is completed, we work to refine the reconstructions to optimize the patient’s function and achieve the best external appearance possible. This is done in collaboration with a team of experts, including:
- Radiation and medical oncologists to optimize cancer management and thus maximize the chance or cure.
- Speech and language pathologists who specialize in functional restoration following head and neck cancer treatment.
- Physical therapists specializing in neck and shoulder function and facial movement restoration.
- Prosthodontists who are experts in dental and facial prosthetic rehabilitation.
- Psychologists who help patients navigate these life-altering functional changes.
Through this team-based approach, we approach each patient individually. This allows us to achieve the best results possible so that impacts to speech and swallowing are minimal.
After treatment is completed and cancer is controlled, unfortunate late effects such as osteoradionecrosis (ORN) — jaw bone destruction due to long term effects of radiation — may occur. Surgeons in our center are particularly expert at managing all degrees of ORN, whether it be bone replacement with free flap surgery or employing novel techniques to arrest progression of moderate disease.
Head and Neck Oncologic Surgeons
Conditions and Treatments
- Dysphagia after cancer treatment
- Laryngeal cancer
- Oral cavity cancer
- Osteoradionecrosis (ORN)
- Nasal and septal cancer
- Nasal reconstruction
- Recurrent cancer
- Speech dysfunction after cancer treatment
- Tongue reconstruction
Reconstruction following parotid gland surgery
The management of parotid tumors is primarily surgical. This involves removal of part or all of the affected parotid gland (one of the major salivary glands). Some parotid tumors may also involve the facial nerve, the nerve responsible for movement of the face.
Without reconstruction following removal of the tumor, patients may, in some instances, be left with disfiguring facial asymmetry. Furthermore, if the tumor involves the facial nerve, patients may suffer from a postoperative facial paralysis.
Our surgeons offer comprehensive management of parotid tumors. This often entails a two-team approach between our cancer and reconstructive surgeons. Through a variety of techniques, our methods minimize potential scarring, facial contour deformities, and facial nerve paralysis.
Our reconstructive approach is tailored to the needs of each individual patient and our team of specialists will collaborate to optimize the outcome and results.
Make an Appointment
Cleveland Clinic Center for Facial Reconstruction and Facial Nerve Disorders offers consultations at Cleveland Clinic's main campus.
After you call to arrange an initial appointment with our team, one of our providers will reach out to you to perform a pre-visit intake. Please make arrangements to have copies of prior imaging, imaging reports, operative notes, laboratory studies, pathology reports, and consult notes available that you would like us to review prior to your appointment.
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