A mandibulectomy is a surgery that removes a small part of your lower jaw (partial mandibulectomy) or a larger portion (segmental mandibulectomy). Your surgeon may also reconstruct your jaw with bone from another part of your body. Recovery from a mandibulectomy takes time.
Mandibulectomy is surgery that removes a small or large part of your lower jawbone (mandible). Often, surgeons perform a mandibulectomy to remove a tumor or diseased section of your jaw. Mandibulectomy is also called mandibular resection.
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There are two types of mandibulectomy:
To reconstruct your jaw, your surgeon may take bone from your:
Your surgeon may also use a metal plate or piece of bone from a donor.
Your healthcare provider may recommend a mandibulectomy procedure if you have:
Typically, your healthcare provider will consider:
Often, several healthcare providers work together to perform a mandibulectomy, including a:
Before a mandibulectomy, your healthcare providers use several tests, such as a CT scan, to measure the size of the tumor (or evaluate the area).
If you need reconstructive surgery to rebuild your jaw, your medical team may request more tests. The team also assesses the health of your blood vessels in the body part they’re taking bone from (donor site).
Your healthcare provider will suggest avoiding certain substances and medications that can cause bleeding during surgery or interfere with healing after surgery, including:
A mandibulectomy takes many hours. During both types of mandibulectomy, you receive general anesthesia and are asleep for the procedure.
During a marginal mandibulectomy, your surgeon:
During a segmental mandibulectomy, your surgical team removes a larger portion of your jaw and reconstructs it. Typically, the team:
You may also have these additional treatments:
You may stay in the hospital between two days and two weeks, depending on the mandibulectomy procedure you had.
When you go home, follow your healthcare provider’s instructions on eating and caring for your incisions. You may still have a feeding tube or consume a liquid diet. You’ll also discuss how best to manage your pain after surgery.
After your procedure, you may receive physical therapy and speech therapy. If you have cancer, your healthcare provider may also recommend radiation therapy or chemotherapy to destroy any remaining cancerous cells.
Potential risks of mandibulectomy include:
Recovery from a mandibulectomy can take time. Your recovery depends on the procedure you had. For example, if your surgical team rebuilt your jaw, you may need therapy to relearn how to swallow and eat.
You can typically return to work after several weeks. You may need to wait longer before doing any strenuous activities, such as exercise. Your surgical team will give you details about your recovery time.
Seek medical attention if you develop:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
A mandibulectomy surgically removes a small part of your lower jaw (partial mandibulectomy) or a larger area (segmental mandibulectomy). Often, your surgical team also reconstructs your jaw with bone from another part of your body. You may need to have this procedure if you have cancer in your mouth or throat or a severe bone infection or injury. Talk to your healthcare provider about what to expect before, during and after mandibulectomy surgery.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/07/2022.
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