Head & Neck Cancer Reconstruction
Cancers that are known collectively as head and neck cancers usually begin in the squamous cells that line the moist, mucosal surfaces inside the head and neck (for example, inside the mouth, the nose, and the throat). These squamous cell cancers are often referred to as squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck.
Following radical excision, breathing, speech, mastication and swallowing are hampered. The face is invariably involved. Beside functional normalcy, excellent cosmetic restoration is necessary for the patient’s life quality. Primary wound healing, quick resumption of adequate oral intake, prompt initiation of chemo-radiotherapy has a direct bearing on a cure. Primary reconstruction with pedicle or free flap is the choice of treatment in most protocols. Composite defects are requiring bone, muscle and skin in established disease, primary reconstruction with pedicle or free flaps offer reasonable function and aesthetic outcome.
With the escalation in the technique of microsurgery, a microsurgical flap is preferred as a direct route. Goals of reconstruction are to regain swallowing, speech, breathing and have symmetry of the face. Complex anatomy and physiology of the head and neck region constitute a challenge for the reconstructive surgeon. Lip, tongue, mandible, mid-face and defects of pharynx have specific anatomical and physiological functions.