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What is Head and Neck Reconstruction?
The bones of the head and neck play a vital role in supporting the brain, sensory organs, nerves, and blood vessels of the head as well as protecting these structures from mechanical damage. Movements of these bones executed by the attached muscles of the head are responsible for facial expressions, eating, speech, and head movement. Head and neck tumours, congenital defects or trauma may cause devastating cosmetic as well as functional damage to areas on the face. This may affect a patient’s self-esteem and quality of life.


Head and neck surgery serve to reconstruct the neck and head area to restore form and function by rebuilding and restoring normal anatomic structures to their former aesthetic. These are generally extensive operations with the involvement of a Head and Neck Resectional Surgeon and a Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon to do the repair work.


Which areas can be treated?

  • Cheek

  • Nose

  • Eyelids

  • Forehead

  • Ears

  • Jaw

  • Chin

  • Tongue

  • Palate

  • Neck

  • Oesophagus


What can I expect?

Free flaps like the free fibula, the antero-lateral thigh flap (tissue at the front of the thigh) and the radial forearm free flap are used to reconstruct head and neck anatomy. A free flap involves a mass of tissue transplanted from one part of the body to another in order to reconstruct an existing defect. Reconstruction with free flaps has proven to significantly change the cosmetic outcome for patients with head and neck cancer.


How long is recovery time?
It will vary from case to case but you will require hospitalisation for two to five days and recovery may take three to four weeks.

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