TREATMENT of patients with head and neck cancer should not terminate with the elimination of the disease. Current surgical treatment for cancer often produces large defects which are accompanied by dysfunctions and distortions of the affected parts. Rehabilitation of patients with such defects is an essential phase of treatment.
It is the purpose of this article to present certain problems resulting from cancer surgery and their possible prosthetic management. Specific techniques of prosthetic rehabilitation of orofacial defects have been detailed in other articles.1-6
The head and neck areas contain major concentrations of complex neuromuscular systems. Speech, deglutition, and mastication are significantly affected by surgery in the oral cavity. These functional impairments make readjustment to family life and employment virtually impossible. Massive, or in some instances, moderate defects of the face can produce severe psychological trauma which are as debilitating as a biological injury.7
Rehabilitation of oral and facial defects can
Cantor R, Curtis TA, Rozen RD. Orofacial Prosthetic Rehabilitation. Arch Otolaryngol. 1968;87(5):559–561. doi:10.1001/archotol.1968.00760060561026
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