Reconstruction for head and neck cancers
As many of you know, we head and neck cancer patients need major reconstruction after big cancer removal surgeries. We need free forearm flaps or fibula flaps or flaps of bony of soft tissue from all over the body. And all these flaps need to be taken with a long string of blood vessels which are then joined to blood vessels in the head and neck. It’s often difficult to avoid nerve damage and hard to achieve a result that is socially acceptable. (A term I heard a patient use, “How can I make this socially acceptable?”)
We are now on a review and implementation team to improve services in Auckland using the patient voice as a help.
My question is this: did people in the US and Canada and elsewhere have a plastic surgeon present at the initial surgery? Did they have a maxillofacial surgeon or oral surgeon? Our feeling is that just having an ENT surgeon to remove the cancer and then a microvascular trained ENT to reconstruct might not be giving complex patients the best outcome. Just askin’