Head And Neck Cancer Surgery

You may be referred to see Dr Nicholson due to concern about the possibility of having head and neck or throat cancer. Most patients referred here do not have cancer, but may well have symptoms including sensation of a lump in the throat, hoarseness, swallowing problems or an apparent lump in the neck. It is fair to say that most of these symptoms are found not to be due to cancer in most patients after a thorough examination.

If however a cancer is diagnosed, you may be required to undergo an examination under anaesthesia, for the purposes of obtaining a biopsy. X-ray examinations such as a CT scan or a PET scan may also be recommended. There are generally no simple blood tests that will indicate the presence or otherwise of a head and neck or throat cancer.

The commonest cancer of the Head and Neck (after thyroid cancer) is Squamous Cell Cancer, or SCC. It is most common in smokers, and avoiding cigarette smoke can reduce the risk of developing one of these cancers in the Head and Neck. Treatments for Head and Neck cancers are typically successful, depending the site of the cancer and the cancers size and extent.

Treatment and Surgery

Treatments are customised to the patient, and the cancer, considering both its site in the neck or throat, and its size (stage).

Broadly speaking, treatments involve either surgery (including laser surgery) or radiation or a combination of the two. Chemotherapy is not usually employed as a first line technique, but may be recommended in combination with radiotherapy in certain situations.

Most patients will be recommended to attend the Head and Neck Combined Consultative Clinic at the Andrew Love Centre at the Geelong Hospital (early Tuesday mornings) so that a decision can be make by a group of experts in their fields as to the preferred treatments recommended.

Laser Surgery

Dr Nicholson has done extensive training in the USA in the use of   laser surgery for Head and Neck Cancer, and pioneered many of its applications here.

Laser surgery has the advantage of  increasing the accessibility to areas of the airway and throat that would typically require external incisions. The laser beam also seals lymph channels and reduces the opportunity for cancer spread through lymphatics. It is directed therapy, and can be reused many times in the same area. Often by minimise tissue dissection, patients can be treated effectively as day stay patients, and minimise any alteration to many areas of the throat and larynx.

Instructions for Surgery for Head And Neck Cancer Surgery

You may also refer to the Preparing for Surgery patient information sheet.

FASTING: (food & liquid) from midnight for a morning operation and from 7.30am for an afternoon operation, a light breakfast of tea and toast is OK prior to 7.30am.  Children under 14 may have clear fluids only up until 10.30am, (NO MILK) but definitely nothing after 10.30am.

FORMS: Hospital admission forms and anaesthetic forms should be completed and returned to the hospital at least 3 days prior to the date of your operation.  If you have any queries regarding your operation please do not hesitate to contact Dr Nicholson’s rooms.

Post operative Care for Head And Neck Cancer Surgery

Dr Nicholson will provide you with specific instructions for post operative care.

*These notes are an outline only and should be expanded on in discussion with Dr Nicholson.

The patient information sheets are intended as a guide only and not to take the place of a full discussion of this procedure with Dr Nicholson

Head and Neck Cancer Surgery
Preparing for Surgery

Illlustration Credit: Otalaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, Missouri, USA, 1993 Mosby-Year Book, Inc

ENT specialist | Head and Neck surgery | Head and Neck cancer | Rhinoplasty | Grommets | Tonsillectomy | Parotidectomy
Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS) | Sinusitis | Parathyroidectomy | Thyroid/Thyroidectomy

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