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Jan/Feb 2017

Preoperative Laser Depilation Therapy to Address the Hairy Intraoral Flap

Author Affiliations
  • 1Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School, Boston
JAMA Facial Plast Surg. 2017;19(1):76-77. doi:10.1001/jamafacial.2016.1302

Problematic intraoral and intrapharyngeal hirsutism as a consequence of complex reconstruction after oral and oropharyngeal cancer resection has been recognized since the 1970s.1 Patients describe discomfiting symptoms, including bothersome intraoral sensations, trapping of saliva and food debris, difficulty swallowing, poor oral hygiene, and difficulty accessing hair-bearing areas to trim or shave. Prior reports have noted that some of these symptoms, such as dysphagia and mucosal irritation, could be difficult to distinguish from recurrent disease.2,3 Treatment of the hairy intraoral flap has historically included endoscopically guided trimming, shaving, waxing, depilatory creams, and, more definitively, laser therapy.3

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