Cancers of the head and neck are frequently evaluated and treated with surgery. Surgery allows the surgeon to take tissue samples and thoroughly identify and stage many types of head and neck cancers. Some head and neck cancers can be treated with surgery alone if they are isolated and little risk exists for the cancer spreading to nearby tissues. Often, however, head and neck cancers are treated with chemotherapy and/or radiation in addition to surgery.
Numerous types of surgeries exist to remove head and neck cancers. The surgery your surgeon chooses depends on the location, type and stage of the cancer. When possible, only the affected tissues are removed along with a small amount of unaffected tissue that is in close proximity to the cancerous cells. Extreme effort is made to preserve the function and form of the head and neck structures as much as possible. Unfortunately, sometimes that is not possible but there are several techniques that surgeons can use to reconstruct tissue and structures that have been damaged or fully removed. Surgery for cancers of the head and neck may also include the removal of affected lymph nodes in the area.
The effects of surgery for head and neck cancers varies depending on what surgery is done but often times chewing, swallowing and talking are affected to some degree. Many of the surgeries are done on the inside of the oral cavity but some procedures, like thyroid surgery, can leave an external scar.
Thankfully, at DeVore Katz Michaelson ENT our surgeons are very skilled at leaving the least amount of visible scarring possible. Swelling and some discomfort should be expected in the first few days or weeks after surgery. It is important to follow all post-procedure instructions to insure optimal healing. If lymph nodes are removed, swelling may be somewhat of a frequent occurrence since the lymph system helps the body to drain fluid when needed.
For more information about head and neck surgery in Dayton, contact us to schedule a consultation. We will be happy to assist you any way we can.